NEW JERSEY — More than 55 million Americans—including more than 1.3 million New Jerseyans—are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home over Thanksgiving weekend, defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1 and the official kickoff to the holiday season, according to AAA Northeast’s annual “Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast.”

According to AAA Northeast, this number represents a 2.9-percent increase over 2018 and the second-highest travel volume since the nonprofit auto club began tracking holiday travel nearly 20 years ago.

“The economy is essentially good for millions of Americans with extra disposable income, motivating a holiday trip,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations for AAA Northeast.

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Lower gas prices fuel road trips in New Jersey and beyond:

The vast majority of holiday travelers are also expected drive to their destinations, according to AAA Northeast. Although gas prices have been fluctuating, the current national average is $2.59—three cents more than this time last year. In New Jersey, however, drivers are paying an average of $2.57, which is two cents cheaper than one year ago ($2.59).

The average gas prices in New Jersey over Thanksgiving weekend for the past five years were as follows, according to AAA Northeast:

2018: $2.54

2017: $2.55

2016: $2.21

2015: $1.95

2014: $2.70

For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be slightly higher than last year's Thanksgiving holiday, which averaged $2.49.

Traffic is also expected to peak this weekend:

INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much as four times longer than normal in major metro areas.

For the 49.3 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week, peaking Wednesday with trips taking as much as four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.

Travel by the numbers for 2019 Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend:

Although driving remains the most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving, both in New Jersey and nationally, millions of Americans will also travel using other methods this weekend.

AAA Northeast shared the following statistics as part of its 2019 forecast along with a comparison to 2018:

Automobile:

  • New Jersey – 1,213,910 (88.8% of all travelers), a 2.7% increase from 2018
  • Nationally – 49.35 million (89.3% of all travelers), a 2.8% increase from last Thanksgiving

Air:

  • New Jersey – 124,593 (9.1% of all travelers), a 4.6% increase from last year
  • Nationally – 4.44 million (8% of all travelers), a 4.6% increase from one year ago

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode:

  • New Jersey – 28,882 (2.1% of all travelers), a 0.6% increase from last year
  • Nationally – 1.48 million (2.7% of all travelers), a 1.4% increase from Thanksgiving 2018

 

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