Georgia’s Thanksgiving travel expected to be busiest in decades

Georgia’s Thanksgiving travel expected to be busiest in decades

2022-11-23T13:06:51-05:00November 23rd, 2022|Atlanta, Economy, Tourism|

Writer: Gabriela Enamorado

2 min read November 2022 — The hectic Thanksgiving travel period is back in full swing in Georgia as travel for the holiday is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels, creating one of the busiest Thanksgiving breaks for the state in nearly two decades.

AAA forecasts that more than 1.6 million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more for Turkey Day, surpassing 2021 Thanksgiving travel numbers by 26,000, representing a 2% increase. 

According to the same forecast, the total number of people that are expected to be traveling is 1,651,458 in comparison to 2021’s total travel number which was 1,625,004. 

Of the 1.6 million Georgia residents traveling, 1,510,57 will be traveling by car. This comes amidst Georgia gas price average dropping ahead of the holiday. According to another AAA report, the Georgia gas price average is now $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. This is six cents lower than just the week before, 12 cents lower than a month ago and 13 cents less than 2021 Thanksgiving week. 

“The over 1.5 million Georgians hitting the road for Thanksgiving will find pump prices less expensive compared to last year,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman in a press release. “While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, particularly during the holidays. Travel spending is at the highest level since the pandemic began, which is a driving force behind our projections this year.”

Despite high gas prices across the country, 89% of all Thanksgiving travelers will be driving, according to anotheropens PDF file AAA forecast. Nationally, 49 million travelers are expected to hit the road, an increase of 4% compared to 2021. 

Those who will not be traveling by car will be using other forms of transportation. 114,307 Georgians are forecasted to use air travel to get to their destination. This is an increase of 8% compared to 2021, according to the forecast. This is in line with trendsopens PDF file seen across the country as it is forecasted that 4.5 million Americans will be traveling by plane for Thanksgiving, an increase of 330,000 air passengers and almost 99% of 2019 numbers. The 2022 air travel numbers are breaking records, with total air travel being 22% higher than the 10-year average pre-pandemic. The share of air travel will be 8.3%, the highest it has been since before the Great Recession, according to the reportopens PDF file .

26,694opens PDF file Georgians will be traveling by other modes of transportation, including bus, train and cruise ships. This is an increase  from 21,694 from 2021 but not quite reaching 2019 figures of 30,038. This is in line with the 1.4 millionopens PDF file Americans that will use similar modes of transportation for their holiday trip.

“Travel is still roaring back from the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA, in a statement. “While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, particularly during the holidays. Travel spending is at the highest level since the pandemic began, which is a driving force behind our projections this year.”