Travelers face busiest holiday season in almost a decade

Holiday car travel traffic
Posted at 2:20 PM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 14:20:00-05

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Give yourself plenty of time this week if you plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA estimates this to be the busiest travel season in eight years, with almost 47 million people taking a roadtrip for the long holiday weekend.

Nationwide, gas prices are the lowest they have been in seven years averaging about $2.15 per gallon, down 65 cents from 2014. Airplane fares are also slightly cheaper than they were one year ago, while hotel rates are essentially flat. AAA’s W. D. Williams says the improving economy means more people are willing to spend their discretionary income this year.

“People want to travel and see their families during the holidays," They are feeling good about the economy, and the gas prices being at seven year lows certainly help people be able to afford to do so.”

Williams says the two busiest travel days will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday afterward. AAA also reminds drivers to get their cars checked out before hitting the road, as flat tires and dead batteries strand more travelers during the holiday season than any other reason.

“Give yourself ample time," Williams advises. "When drivers feel rushed or feel hurried, they are more likely to take unnecessary driving risks. So, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Expect that the roadways are going to be very, very busy particularly on Wednesday and on Sunday."