If you are traveling for the holiday season, you are far from alone.
AAA predicts that more Americans than ever—115.6 million—will travel this year between Saturday, Dec. 21, and Wednesday, Jan. 1.
That’s the most since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000 and is an increase of 3.9 percent, or 4.3 million, over last year, according to a AAA news release.
More than 104 million holiday travelers are expected to drive and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects delays to be the worst on Thursday, Dec. 26, with afternoon delays reaching nearly double congestion-free drive times in major U.S. cities, according to the news release.
In Washington, D.C., the worst time to be on the roads is predicted to be Thursday, Dec. 26, from 4 to 6 p.m., when traffic congestion is expected to be three times greater than normal.
“Holiday cheer is at an all-time high this year, with unemployment at historically low levels, and noted improvements in both disposable income and household net worth,” Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel, said in the news release. “Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”
AAA estimates that 6.97 million people will travel by air this holiday season, the most since 2003. Another 3.81 million people are expected to travel by train, buses and cruise ships.
For the 104.8 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX predicts “only marginal delays throughout the holiday week.”
“With kids out of school and many Americans taking extended time off for the holidays, drivers will experience only incremental delays throughout the week. Although congestion will be lighter than normal, knowing when and where major delays will likely happen will help save time and reduce stress this holiday season,” Trevor Reed, a transportation analyst at INRIX, said in the news release.