NASHVILLE, Tenn.,
13
November
2023
|
15:46 PM
America/Chicago

1.3 Million Tennesseans Expected to Travel Over Thanksgiving Weekend

This year’s holiday forecast is a 2.4% increase over last year; the second highest since 2005

Car Care B-ROLL FOR Media / Move Over B-Roll for Media

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (November 13, 2023) – AAA projects more than 1.3 million Tennesseans will travel 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period*. This year’s forecast is the second highest on record, with an expected 31,000 (2.4%) more holiday travelers than last year.

“Travel demand has been strong all year and that trend will continue with one of the busiest Thanksgivings on record,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “With more people taking to the roads, skies, rails and sea; travelers should expect congested roads and longer lines at transportation terminals. AAA encourages travelers to develop their plan now, leave early, and be courteous to others.”

 

Tennessee Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

 

Total

Auto

Air

Other

2023 (forecast)

1.30 million

1.25 million

39,676

12,149

2022

1.27 million

1.22 million

37,634

11,061

2021

1.25 million

1.20 million

35,991

9,127

 

Auto Travel is the Highest on Record in Tennessee

Most Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destinations. AAA predicts 1.2 million Tennesseans will take a road trip of 50 miles or more. That’s over 28,000 more Tennessee drivers (+2.3%) than last year.

 

Gas Prices Should Remain Lower Than Last Year

Thanksgiving road trips should be less costly at the gas pump this year. Despite global tensions causing ripples through the oil market, strong domestic gasoline supplies are causing pump prices to drop. Last Thanksgiving, the national average price for gasoline was $3.58 per gallon, while the state average was $3.16. On Sunday (11/12), Tennessee drivers paid an average price of $2.96. AAA believes gas prices should remain low through the holiday season unless oil prices suddenly spike. Visit GasPrices.AAA.com to view updated gas price averages.

 

Air Travel Approaches Pre-Pandemic Highs

AAA expects over 39,000 Tennesseans to fly for Thanksgiving. That’s 2,000 (5.4%) more than 2022, and the highest air travel volume in 15 years.

 

Busiest Times to Fly

Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the busiest air travel days ahead of the holiday and the most expensive. While Sunday is typically the busiest day to return home, AAA data shows Monday is also a popular day to fly back after Thanksgiving.

 

Cruise, Bus, and Train Traffic Gains Ground

The number of Tennesseans traveling by cruise, bus, and train over Thanksgiving is up nearly 10% over last year. AAA expects 12,000 travelers to head out of town using these other modes of transportation, which suffered a severe setback during the pandemic, but have rebounded nicely.

 

“The cruise industry, in particular, has made a remarkable comeback, and thrives during the holidays,” Haas added. “Holiday cruises are highly sought-after as a means for large families to travel together and visit multiple destinations without having to worry about the cooking and cleanup. For those looking to plan a 2024 vacation, this is also a great time to connect with a Travel Advisor, who can navigate the many options available to find the best fit.”

 

Best/Worst Times to Drive

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, expects WednesdayNovember 22, to be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, with average travel times as high as 80% longer than normal in some metro areas. INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest holiday congestion.

“The day before Thanksgiving is notoriously one of the most congested days on our roadways. Travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help minimize holiday traffic frustrations. We advise drivers to use traffic apps, local DOT notifications, and 511 services for real-time updates.”

 

Please note – the times listed below are for the time zone the metro is located in. For example, Atlanta routes = ET and Los Angeles routes = PT.

Overall Busiest Day to Drive

Date

Time

Compared to Typical

Wednesday, Nov 22

2:00 - 6:00 PM

11.44%

Best and Worst Times to Drive

Date

Worst Travel Time

Best Travel Time

Wednesday, Nov22

2:00 - 6:00 PM

Before 11:00 AM

Thursday, Nov 23

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Before 10:00 AM, After 5:00 PM

Friday, Nov 24

12:00 - 4:00 PM

Before 11:00 AM, After 7:00 PM

Saturday, Nov 25

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Before 12:00 PM

Sunday, Nov 26

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Before 12:00 PM

 

Holiday Booking Prices

This holiday season, travelers are generally paying less for domestic trips compared to last year and more for international vacations. The one exception is airfare, which is slightly more expensive for domestic flights this season and a bit lower for international flights. Here’s a breakdown of average booking prices for November and December, according to AAA data:

FLIGHTS

  • The average price for a domestic flight is $681, up 5% from 2022.
  • The average price for an international flight is $1,231, down 5.7% from last year.

HOTELS

  • The average price for a domestic hotel stay is $598, down 12% from 2022.
  • The average price for an international hotel stay is $772, up 5% from last year.

RENTAL CARS

  • The average price for a domestic rental car reservation is $590, down 20% from 2022.
  • The average price for an international rental car reservation is $696, up 9% from last year.

CRUISES

  • The average price for a domestic cruise is $1,507, down 12% compared to 2022.
  • The average price for an international cruise is $2,902, up 24% from last year.

TOURS

  • The average price for a domestic tour is $1,058, down 15% compared to 2022.
  • The average price for an international tour is $1,208, up 21% from last year.

 

AAA’s Road Trip Tips

  • Get a full vehicle inspection before setting out on your trip.
  • Leave early and allow extra time to get to your destination, so you are not in a rush.
  • Identify alternate routes in case you encounter congestion or road closures.
  • Avoid distractions while driving. Program your GPS before your drive.
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle wears their seatbelt.
  • Never drive impaired.

AAA’s Air Travel Tips

  • Check-in early online.
  • Monitor your flight status using your air carrier’s mobile app.
  • Arrive 2-3 hours before scheduled departure.
  • Pack medications and an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag, just in case your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Tips for Air Travelers who Have Not Booked their Flight Yet:

  • Book a flight that leaves early in the day. Flights in the afternoon and evening are more susceptible to delays and cancellations.
  • Book a direct flight. Otherwise, build in extra time between connections, in case your first flight is delayed.
  • Consider traveling on Thanksgiving Day. This could offer the best combination of availability and price.

“It’s not too late to purchase travel insurance, which can be extremely valuable for air travelers,” Haas said. “There are policies that can provide compensation for flight delays for as little as three hours. And if a flight is cancelled, passengers can receive compensation for covered out-of-pocket expenses.”

Top Holiday Destinations

Warm weather destinations, theme parks, tourist attractions, historic sites, and cruise port cities top the list of domestic and international destinations this holiday season.

 

DOMESTIC

INTERNATIONAL

Orlando, FL

Cancun, Mexico

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Mexico City, Mexico

Miami, FL

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Anaheim, CA

Bahrain

Tampa, FL

Rome, Italy

New York City, NY

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Las Vegas, NV

Nassau, Bahamas

Honolulu, HI

Bali, Papua New Guinea

Maui, HI

Paris, France

San Diego, CA

London, England

 

AAA Reminds Drivers to ‘Move Over for Me’

With more people sharing the roads, the danger is multiplied for those on the roadside. AAA reminds motorists to slow down and move over for first responders, tow trucks, and any motorist with a disabled vehicle on the side of the road.

“We want to make sure all holiday travelers, tow truck drivers and first responders make it home safely this Thanksgiving,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “All drivers can help by moving over for flashing lights, whether it’s a tow truck or a disabled vehicle with its hazard lights on. Even if it adds a few minutes to your commute, that small gesture could save a life.”

Holiday Forecast Methodology: 

Travel Forecast 

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. The PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of U.S. residents. DK SHIFFLET contacts over 50,000 U.S. households each month to obtain detailed travel data, resulting in the unique ability to estimate visitor volume and spending, identify trends, and forecast U.S. travel behavior, all after the trips have been taken.

The travel forecast is reported in person-trips. AAA and SPGMI forecast the total U.S. holiday travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report was prepared the week of October 9, 2023.

*Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Period 

For the purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, November 26.

About S&P Global 
S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) provides essential intelligence. We enable governments, businesses and individuals with the right data, expertise and connected technology so that they can make decisions with conviction. From helping our customers assess new investments to guiding them through ESG and energy transition across supply chains, we unlock new opportunities, solve challenges and accelerate progress for the world. We are widely sought after by many of the world’s leading organizations to provide credit ratings, benchmarks, analytics and workflow solutions in the global capital, commodity, automotive markets. With every one of our offerings, we help the world’s leading organizations plan for tomorrow, today. For more information, visit www.spglobal.com

About DKSA 

DK SHIFFLET boasts the industry’s most complete database on U.S. resident travel both in the U.S. and worldwide. Data is collected monthly from a U.S. representative sample, adding over 60,000 traveling households annually and is used daily by leading travel organizations and their strategic planning groups. DK SHIFFLET is an MMGY Global company. 

About INRIX   

Founded in 2004, INRIX pioneered intelligent mobility solutions by transforming big data from connected devices and vehicles into mobility insights. This revolutionary approach enabled INRIX to become one of the leading providers of data and analytics into how people move. By empowering cities, businesses, and people with valuable insights, INRIX is helping to make the world smarter, safer, and greener. With partners and solutions spanning across the entire mobility ecosystem, INRIX is uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology and transportation – whether it’s keeping road users safe, improving traffic signal timing to reduce delay and greenhouse gasses, optimizing last mile delivery, or helping uncover market insights. Learn more at INRIX.com.  here

About AAA - The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 64 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.