Estimated 136,000+ Delawareans to hit the road for Thanksgiving

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AAA is projecting that nearly 150,000 Delawareans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 1.1% over last year. That’s a bit shy of pre-pandemic Thanksgiving travelers in 2019.

As usual, the great majority of those travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations. AAA is projecting that more than 1336,000 Delawareans (more than 90% of local travelers) will be hitting the road, relatively flat (+0.4%) over last year.

AAA projects more than 10,000 Delawareans (nearly 7% of local travelers) will travel to their Thanksgiving holiday destination by air, an increase of more than 7% over last year due to Covid-19 restrictions being lifted.

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The dramatic bounce back in travel compared to last year is in other modes of travel – cruise ships, busses, and trains. AAA projects travel by these modes of transportation will jump over 20% for Thanksgiving travel.

“Thanksgiving travel volume is expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels (2019) this year, an indicator that travel demand is rebounding as people flock to the roadways, airways and more to be with family and friends,” said Jana Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As we approach some of the busiest travel days of the year, AAA urges travelers to plan ahead and pack patience for a safe and stress-free travel experience.”

AAA defines the Thanksgiving holiday as the five-day period from Wednesday, November 24-Sunday November 28.

2022 Projected Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers – Delaware

NUMBER OF TRAVELERSTotal Population2022 Travelers% of people traveling% change vs. 2021
Delaware  Total
Auto, Air, Other
1,003,384*149,50414.9%+1.1%
Delaware Auto91.2% of people travel by car136,46013.6%+0.4%
Delaware Air6.7% of people travel by air10,0341.0%+7.2%
Delaware other (train, bus, cruise, etc.)2.0% of people travel
by other modes
3,0100.3%+20.4%
     
National total332.8 million*54.6 million16.4%+1.5%
National Auto 89.1% of people travel by car48.7 million14.6%+0.4%
National Air 8.3% of people travel by air4.5 million1.4%+7.9%
National Other (train,
bus, cruise, etc.)
2.6% of people travel
by other modes
1.4 million0.4%+23.5%

*U.S. Census Bureau (v2021)/IHS Markit

AAA advice

AAA is expecting to rescue more than 1,200 Members over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Delaware – and more than a third of those calls will require a tow. Drivers are reminded to always Slow Down and Move Over for AAA tow truck drivers, other emergency first responders and the motorists they are assisting on the side of the road.

Be Patient. The roads and airports will be busy so plan ahead.

  • Arrive at the airport early so you’ll have plenty of time to get through longer TSA lines and other travel checkpoints. For domestic travel, AAA suggests 2.5 hours ahead of departure time and 3 hours for international.
  • Consider booking a flight during non-peak travel periods to cut down on wait times.
  • Hit the road when there’s less traffic and allow for extra time when traveling to your destination.

Roads Will Be Bustling

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Major metro areas across the U.S. could see more than double the delays versus typical drive times.

Best & Worst Times to Travel (by car) 

Date Worst travel time Best travel time 
11/23/22 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM Before 8:00 AM, After 8:00 PM 
11/24/22 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 6:00 PM 
11/25/22 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 8:00 PM 
11/26/22 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 2:00 PM, After 8:00 PM 
11/27/22 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 8:00 PM 

In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices, including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators, and variables related to travel and tourism, including gasoline prices, airline travel, and hotel stays. AAA and S&P Global Market Intelligence have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000.

Historical travel volume estimates come from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/Monitorsm.

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