Millions expected to travel for Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving travel is expected to hit pre-pandemic levels this year.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 12:41 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2022 at 6:55 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Thanksgiving travel is expected to hit pre-pandemic levels this year.

“I traveled last year to Florida. It was great. I had to leave ahead of time, so I can beat traffic and stuff, but this year, I decided to stay here,” said Fernando Suarez of Springfield.

Suarez decided to stay home this year after traveling last year for Thanksgiving, plus he told Western Mass News high gas prices are also a reason. However, AAA predicts nearly 55 million people across the United States will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving.

With the prices at the pump, are people choosing to travel by air this Thanksgiving?

“Yes, so gas prices and it’s definitely having an impact on people and their travel plans. However, it looks like people will just be handling those prices and making adjustments elsewhere in their budgets,” said AAA Northeast spokesperson Mark Shieldrop.

Even with the high gas prices, it looks to be that over 1.2 million residents from Massachusetts will still travel by car. Shieldrop told us the heaviest traffic day will be on Wednesday next week.

“If you are on the Mass. Pike, you are going to see significant traffic. The worst is going to be closer to the city - the Cambridge, Boston area - and junctions with 95 and 93, but in western Mass., the same advice applies. Wednesday is going to be the worst time,” Shieldrop added.

Western Mass News spoke to Andrew Diaz of Chicopee, who planned to make the six hour ride to his brother’s house by trying to leave early to beat the traffic

“We are here in Mass. so traveling down from 91, you hit the traffic at Connecticut, so luckily, I can beat it. Hopefully, I can beat it,” Diaz said.

As for air travel, that’s expected to be up eight percent from last year and with the airports facing backlash this year for staffing shortages that caused cancelled and delayed flights, fewer flights are planned. The result of that could be packed airports, higher prices, and full planes. It’s something that Shieldrop said you should plan for.

“We always recommend people get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. That advice could not be more important this year, compared to any other year,” Shieldrop noted.