AAA expects massive holiday travel rebound with 53.4 million Americans expected to travel

Cars on highway
Posted at 6:53 AM, Nov 09, 2021

(WXYZ) — AAA Michigan said it expects a massive rebound in holiday travels this Thanksgiving. According to AAA, they predict about 53.4 million Americans will travel in some form for the holiday, up 13% from 2020 and within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

In Michigan, AAA predicts about 1.6 million people will travel, a 14% increase from last year, but about 7% below pre-pandemic levels.

“It’s beginning to look more like a normal holiday travel season, compared to what we saw last year,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Now that U.S. borders are open, vaccinations are readily available, and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holidays.”

With the increase in travel, people should prepare for roads and airports to be significantly more crowded than last year.

The biggest increase will come in air travel, which has nearly recovered from the pandemic, up 80% last year. AAA expects road travel to increase 8%.

AA expects 48.3 million people to travel this year. That's up from 44.5 million last year, but down from 49.9 million in 2019. For air travel, they expect 4.2 million people to travel, nearly double the 2.3 million in 2020.

In Michigan, AAA expects 1.4 million to travel by car and 147,368 to travel by air. That's up from 1.3 million and 80,481 respectively.

If you're traveling, AAA has the best and worst times to travel.

Worst times

  • Wednesday from 12-8pm
  • Thursday from 12-3pm
  • Friday from 1-4pm
  • Saturday from 2-7pm
  • Sunday from 1-7pm

Best times

  • Wednesday after 9pm
  • Thursday before 11am
  • Friday before 11am
  • Saturday before 12pm
  • Sunday before 12pm

In metro Detroit, the worst corridor to travel is on westbound I-96 from 6 Mile Rd. to Walled Lake. The peak congestion is on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., with travel up 211% during that time.