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Record Number Of Californians Expected To Travel For Holiday

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Sonora, CA — This Thanksgiving will mark a milestone in travel, with a surge projected to create one of the busiest travel periods on record.

AAA Northern California expects a record 7.49 million Californians will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, an increase of 3 percent over 2022. Nationwide, 55.4 million people are expected to take to the road, rails, and air over the upcoming holiday weekend. It is a climb of 2.3 percent more than last year and the third-largest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2001, according to AAA.

“Travel demand has truly bounced back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Brian Ng, Senior Vice President of Membership and Travel Marketing for AAA Northern California. “Our holiday travel projections show the yearlong trend of Californians’ eagerness to get away and create memories with family and friends.”

88 percent of those travelers, more than 49 million Americans, plan to drive to their destination (+1.7 percent from 2022). The skies are also anticipated to be busy, with 8.5 percent, or over 4.7 million people, flying to their holiday destinations (+6.6 percent from 2022).

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, AAA Northern California offers four tips to make the holiday less hectic for travelers:

  • Road-ready your ride.  If you don’t want to be one of the estimated 360,000 Thanksgiving travelers calling AAA for roadside assistance nationwide, get a pre-trip inspection at a AAA Auto Repair Center to ensure your vehicle is ready to hit the road.
  • Plan ahead. Use the AAA Mobile App to locate the cheapest gas and EV chargers, request roadside assistance more quickly, and save money with discounts.
  • Budget accordingly. While California gas prices have seen a slight decrease (-36 cents) compared to last year, they remain relatively high. The AAA Mobile app is now available in CarPlay, helping you find the nearest gas and EV stations, compare fuel prices, and drive with confidence.
  • Outsmart the crowds. If flying, arrive at the airport early. If driving, consider aiming for off-peak periods (before 11 a.m. or after 6 p.m.), especially on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

For a look at local gas prices in the region, click here.