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People Once Pandemic Weary Expected To Boost Holiday Travel

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Sonora, CA – AAA projects that Americans are eager to reunite with their families after forgoing travel for much of the pandemic and advise – pack your patience!

Travelers should expect jam-packed airports and roads this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. Additionally, with 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving combined with the recent opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers, AAA recommends people prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded.

“Travel volumes have recovered within 5% of pre-pandemic levels, and air travel has almost entirely recovered from its dramatic decline during, up 80% over last year,” said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Those traveling this Thanksgiving can expect to face more crowded roads and airports than they’ve seen in some time.”

2021 Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers
AAA chart

While still slightly below Thanksgiving of 2019, just over seven million Californians are anticipated to travel this Thanksgiving, which is a 14% increase over last year, according to AAA. This chart shows the projected 2021 holiday travel.

AAA advises travelers to be patient, especially those flying, and suggests arriving at the airport 2 hours ahead of departure time and 3 hours for international. They add that Wednesday afternoon will be the busiest on the roads.