FLORHAM PARK, NJ -  “There’s a lot to be thankful for this holiday season – higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., Manager of Media Relations for AAA Northeast. “Because of this, more travelers are kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”

AAA predicts 1.3 million people in New Jersey, will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 4.8 percent increase from 2017. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005. The 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.

TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS

Sign Up for E-News

Automobile

Driving remains the most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving, both in New Jersey and nationally:

  • New Jersey – 1,209,555 (89% of all travelers), a 5.3% increase from 2017.

Air

  • New Jersey – 119,583 (8.8% of all travelers), a 5.8% increase from 2017.

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode

  • New Jersey – 29,562 (2.2% of all travelers), a 0.8% increase from last year.

Gas Prices Not Keeping Holiday Travelers Home

Even with gas prices dropping, AAA expects most U.S. drivers to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years. In New Jersey, drivers are paying an average of $2.67, eight cents higher than November 14, 2017 ($2.59).

Average gas prices in NJ over Thanksgiving weekend for the past five years:

2017: $2.55

2016: $2.21

2015: $1.95

2014: $2.70

2013: $3.26

Drivers Beware: Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic

Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”

In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.

AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists

AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving, with dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.