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The American Automobile Association has issued a warning holiday travel could be even more of a headache than usual this year as a record number of people hit the road and take to the skies.
AAA has predicted that 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their homes this Thanksgiving, the highest number recorded in more than a dozen years and nearly a five percent higher than last year.
Travel times in America’s most congested cities including Boston, San Francisco and New York City could see delays of up to four hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Analytics company INRIX predicts that the best days to travel will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday, between when people are arriving and departing their Thanksgiving festivities.
In most cities, the worst delays will occur between 5.30pm and 7pm on Tuesday.
While some 48.5 million people are expected to travel by car, another 4.7 million will travel by airplane, a five percent increase from last year.
Airports in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are expected to have the worst delays, which could surpass an hour and a half.
Security lines across the country are expected to be the most crowded on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to INRIX, this year’s travelers paid an average ticket price of $478 round trip, with prices peaking at more than $500 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The most popular holiday destinations this year are Orlando, New York City and Anaheim, while Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Miami and the Dallas/Fort Worth area all gained popularity over last year.
In a press release chock full of information ahead of the holidays, AAA Travel senior vice president Bill Sutherland said: ‘Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth.
‘This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.’