Tuesday, April 16, 2024
News & OpinionSafe TravelTrip Planning

Thanksgiving Travel to Rebound Almost to Pre-Pandemic Levels

More than 53.4 million people, including LGBTQ+ travelers, are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). That’s up 13% from 2020, which brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Air travel will almost completely recover from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year. As restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans this season. 

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”

Orlando, home to Walt Disney World, is the top holiday travel destination, according to AAA. (Photo Credit: Alyssa Eakin on Unsplash)

With 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving coupled with the recent opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers—people should prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded.

“International travel re-opening will allow people to reconnect with friends and family and explore new places, while also giving a much-needed boost to the economy,” continued Twidale. “But it also means airports will be busier than we’ve seen, so travelers must plan for long lines and extra time for TSA checks.”

Big cities and beaches are popular destinations this year. Orlando, FL, Anaheim, CA, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, Phoenix, AZ, and Honolulu, HI are the top 5 U.S. destinations. The top 5 destinations for travelers heading out of the country for the holiday this year. The top 5 destinations for travelers heading out of the country for the holiday include Cancun, Mexico, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Aruba, Los Cabos, Mexico, and Nassau, Bahamas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its recommendations for holiday gatherings and related travel, saying that the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. However, everyone’s situation is unique and therefore, AAA urges anyone considering gathering or traveling for Thanksgiving to consult CDC guidance before finalizing holiday plans.

AAA says Cancun, Mexico is the top international destination for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo Credit: Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash)

Despite gas costing over a dollar more per gallon than this time last year, 90% of people plan to travel by car as their preferred mode of travel. Although the car is still the most popular choice for travelers, a greater share will opt to travel by air and other modes such as bus, train, or cruise this year. 

Domestic and international travel guidelines have changed now that the U.S. has opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers. The CDC has updated its guidance to reflect these changes. When traveling within the U.S., fully vaccinated travelers do not need a negative viral test or to self-quarantine. For international travel, refer to the CDC for specific guidelines. 

AAA is a not-for-profit federation of motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices throughout North America and it provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance, and financial services.

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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