Over 1.3 million New Jerseyans will be among 55 million-plus expected to travel; highest travel volume since 2005

WAYNE, NJ — More than 55 million Americans, including over 1.3 million New Jersey residents, are making plans to travel 50 miles or more from home over Thanksgiving weekend, officially kicking off the holiday season. This represents a 2.9% increase over last year and the second-highest travel volume since AAA began tracking holiday travel nearly 20 years ago, trailing only 2005.

The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and 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.

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“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.

TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS

Automobile

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

  • 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.

Lower gas prices fuel road trips; AAA to rescue more than 368,000
Gas prices have been fluctuating as of late but the current national average of $2.59 is three cents more than this time last year ($2.56). For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be slightly higher than last year's Thanksgiving holiday, which averaged $2.49. In New Jersey, drivers are paying an average of $2.57, two cents cheaper than one year ago ($2.59).

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

2018: $2.54
2017: $2.55
2016: $2.21
2015: $1.95
2014: $2.70

Meanwhile, more than 368,000 motorists will call AAA for assistance at the roadside this Thanksgiving holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. And remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside.

Drivers Beware: Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic
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 four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.