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AAA predicting more holiday traffic on Georgia roads this Thanksgiving
Holiday traffic
AAA is predicting more vehicles on Georgia roads this week for Thanksgiving compared to 2020 and 2021. - photo by Metro Creative Services

ATLANTA — Travel in Georgia is forecast to be the highest this Thanksgiving since 2019.

AAA is forecasting that more than 1.6 million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving — 2% or 26,000 more Georgia travelers than last year’s holiday.

Georgia’s 2022 Thanksgiving forecast shows:

• Total Travel: 1,651,458

• Auto Travel: 1,510,457

• Air Travel: 114,307

• Other Modes: 26,694

“Travel is still roaring back from the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. 

“While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, particularly during the holidays,” she said.

“Travel spending is at the highest level since the pandemic began, which is a driving force behind our projections this year. AAA expects busy roads and long lines at the airport, so leave early and be flexible with your travel plans.”

Previous years totals in Georgia were:

• 2021: 1,625,004 for all modes, 1,496,318 for auto travel, 106,840 for air travel, and 21,694 for other modes.

• 2020: 1,444,448 for all modes, 1,378,432 for auto travel, 60,948 for air travel, and 5,068 for other modes.

• 2019: 1,658,197 for all modes, 1,504,039 for auto travel, 124,120 for air travel, and 30,038 for other modes.

AAA also predicts 54.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving — slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

Gas Prices to Test Record Highs for the Holiday

Pump prices have been fluctuating this month and could be the second highest on record for the holiday. 

In Georgia, the highest daily average price for Thanksgiving was set back in 2012 at $3.28 per gallon. 

On Monday, Nov. 21, Newton County stations charged an average of $3.07 per gallon of regular unleaded, AAA reported. 

Statewide, Georgia drivers paid an average price of $3.11 per gallon. That is 11 cents less than what Georgia drivers paid last Thanksgiving ($3.22).

“Higher gas prices don’t seem to be enough to stop people from traveling to be with family and friends,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We’ve found that when gas prices are high, travelers look to offset the added cost by spending less on a hotel, shopping or dining out.”

Busiest Days to Travel

If you are hitting the road for the holidays, leave early. Travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion Monday through Wednesday afternoon and early evening. Traffic will be lighter during the morning and late evening hours and on Thanksgiving Day.

• Wednesday, Nov. 23

Worst travel time 11 a.m.-8 p.m.  

Best travel time before 8 a.m., after 8 p.m.

• Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24

Worst 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Best Before 11 a.m., after 6 p.m.

• Black Friday, Nov. 25

Worst 4-8 p.m.

Best before 11 a.m., after 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 26

Worst 4-8 p.m.

Best before 2 p.m., after 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27

Worst 4-8 p.m.

Best before 11 a.m., after 8 p.m.

AAA Expects to Rescue 411,000 Stranded Motorists

More than 411,000 drivers will need AAA roadside assistance during the holiday weekend. The most common reasons are for dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts. AAA encourages drivers to get a full vehicle inspection before they hit the road to check everything from the tires, oil, air filter and wiper blades. AAA has a list of certified mechanics at

AAA Reminds Drivers to ‘Move Over for Me’

With more people sharing the roads, the danger is multiplied for those on the roadside. AAA reminds motorists to slow down and move over for first responders and tow trucks. We also ask that you extend the same courtesy to people with disabled vehicles.

“We want to make sure all holiday travelers, tow truck drivers and first responders make it home safely this Thanksgiving,” said Waiters. “Please be courteous and move over for flashing lights, whether it’s a tow truck or a disabled vehicle with its hazard lights on.”

Air Travel Nears Pre-Pandemic Levels

In addition to congestion on the roads, Thanksgiving travelers are likely to find long lines at the airport too. Nationwide, air travel is up nearly 8% from last year, with 4.5 million Americans flying to their Thanksgiving destinations this year. That is an increase of more than 330,000 air passengers and nearly 99% of the 2019 volume.

It’s not uncommon for flight delays and even cancellations this time of year, due to winter weather, staffing challenges, and strong demand.

AAA offers the following tips for air travelers:

• Check-in early online.

• Monitor your flight status using your air carrier’s mobile app.

• Arrive two to three hours before scheduled departure.

• Pack medications and an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag, just in case your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Tips for air travelers who have not booked their flight yet:

• Book a flight that leaves early in the day. Flights in the afternoon and evening are more susceptible to delays and cancellations.

• Book a direct flight. Otherwise, build in extra time between connections, in case your first flight is delayed.

• Consider traveling on Thanksgiving Day. This could offer the best combination of availability and price.

“It’s not too late to purchase travel insurance, which can be extremely valuable for air travelers,” Haas said. “There are policies that can provide compensation for flight delays for as little as three hours. And if your flight is cancelled, passengers can receive compensation for covered out-of-pocket expenses.”

Travel Prices are Mostly Higher than Last Year

• Airfares cost 22% more than last year.

• The lowest round trip airfare costs $166 vs $135 in 2021.

• Hotels cost 17% more than 2021. A mid-range AAA Three Diamond property costs $218 per night vs. $187 last year.

• Car Rentals cost 7% less. The average daily rate is $90 vs $98 last year.

Most Popular Travel Destinations

Based on hotel bookings at Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; New York City; Atlanta; Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Chicago; and Charlotte, North Carolina.