AAA survey estimates 150,000 Delaware travelers over Thanksgiving holiday


 AAA is projecting that nearly 150,000 Delawareans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of nearly 2% over last year – the third highest travel volume for the holiday since 2001. The two busiest years were 2005 and 2019, respectively.

As usual, the vast majority of those travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations. AAA is projecting that more than 136,000 Delawareans (more than 91% of local travelers) will be hitting the road, up 1.7% over last year. However, air, train and other modes showed bigger increases.

I-95 will be busy, with much of the travel in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast passing through Delaware’s section of the interstate.

AAA projects nearly 11,000 Delawareans (nearly 7% of local travelers) will travel to their Thanksgiving holiday destination by air, an increase of more than 4% over last year.

Other modes of travel – cruise ships, busses, and trains – will see a nearly 7% increase over last year as more than 3,000  Delawareans utilize those modes of travel for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


“Thanksgiving travel volume is expected to be the third highest since 2001, continuing a year-long trend for strong travel demand,” 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 with (perhaps) less than idea travel weather conditions, 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, Nov. 22 – Sunday Nov. 26.

2023 projected Thanksgiving holiday travelers – Delaware

NUMBER OF TRAVELERSTotal Population2023 TravelersPercent of population travelingPercent change vs. 2022
Delaware TOTALAuto, Air & Other1,018,396*149,70414.7%+1.9%
Delaware Auto91.2% of people travel by car136,46513.4%+1.7%
Delaware Air6.8% of people travel by air10,1841.0%+4.2%
Delaware Other(train, bus, cruise, etc.)2.0% of people travel by other modes3,0550.3%+6.9%
National TOTAL55.4 million*55.4 million16.5%+2.3%
National Auto 88.7% of people travel by car49.1 million14.6%+1.7%
National Air 8.5% of people travel by air4.7 million1.4%+6.6%
National Other(train, bus, cruise, etc.)2.8% of people travel by other modes1.55 million0.5%+10.9%

*U.S. Census Bureau (v2022)/IHS Markit

AAA’s National Travel Projections

AAA projects 55.4 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period*. This year’s Thanksgiving forecast is an increase of 2.3% over last year and marks the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. The top two years were 2005 and 2019, respectively – the same as Delaware.

AAA is expecting to rescue nearly 1,100 Members over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Delaware alone – and more than a third of those calls will require a tow.

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, expects Wednesday to be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, with average travel times as high as 80% over normal in some metro areas. INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest holiday congestion.

In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence developed 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 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.