The Best and Worst Times to Hit the Road for Thanksgiving, According to AAA

The calendar says Thanksgiving is next week, which means most of the country will be on the road to share a meal with family or friends outside of town, marking the start of the third holiday season of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

So how many people are we talking about? The American Automobile Association (AAA, also known as “Triple A”) predicts that 54.6 million people will drive at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, up 1.5% from 2021, which is 98 % of pre-pandemic indicators. In fact, AAA predicts that 2022 will be the third busiest Thanksgiving weekend since the organization began tracking these numbers in 2000.

AAA defines the “Thanksgiving travel period” as the five-day period from Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27, and recently released its travel forecast for each day. This is the best – and worst – time to travel for Thanksgiving.

The Best and Worst Times to Drive a Thanksgiving Weekend 2022

If your Thanksgiving weekend travel plans currently involve getting in and flying in a car, you may want to reconsider, especially if you’re leaving on the Wednesday afternoon before the holiday, when AAA expects traffic to peak.

Instead, consider what their experts predict will be the best and worst times to hit the road this weekend:

Wednesday, November 23

  • Worst time : 11:00 to 20:00.
  • Best time : before 8 am / after 8 pm

Thursday, November 24

  • Worst time : 11:00 to 15:00.
  • Best time : before 11:00 / after 18:00.

Friday, November 25

  • Worst time : 16-20 hours.
  • Best time : before 11:00 / after 20:00.

Saturday, November 26

  • Worst time : 16-20 hours.
  • Best time : before 14:00 / after 20:00.

Sunday, November 27

  • Worst time : 16-20 hours.
  • Best time : before 11:00 / after 20:00.

These are AAA nationwide forecasts, but if you live in a major metropolitan area, peak congestion may occur on a different day or time, depending on the city’s traffic patterns. AAA has information on this here , including the corridors that are likely to have the worst traffic.

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