AAA: Expect Crowds for Turkey Day Travel

Plan ahead to arrive safe and on time

BOISE – (November 21, 2017) – Although gas prices remain well above 2016 levels, nearly 265,000 Idahoans will journey to see family and friends as part of the 50.9 million Americans that will be traveling this Thanksgiving.

AAA says the additional 1.6 million travelers represent a 3.3 percent increase in Thanksgiving travel volume over last year. The overall travel volume is the most since 2005.

Idaho’s current average price for regular gasoline is $2.66. A year ago, Gem State drivers paid $2.39.  On the national level, average prices are much higher year-over-year.  Today, the U.S. average price is $2.53, compared to $2.13 a year ago.  Idaho’s current pump prices are about twelve cents above the national average.

Here’s a 7-year historical look at Thanksgiving gas prices:

Thanksgiving 2010-16 Gas Prices

“The roads will definitely be busier this year, but the biggest percentage growth – a 5 percent increase – is taking place at the airports,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “Relatively affordable airfare is attracting many travelers who wish to avoid vehicle traffic.”

AAA Idaho reminds airline passengers to arrive a little earlier than usual at the airport. Thanksgiving travelers should also be prepared for crowds in cities with connecting flights – Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are expected to be among the top ten busiest airports in the country, with peak delays multiplied by two or two and a half times the norm.  This afternoon is expected to be the worst time to travel through those airports, but Wednesday will also be busy.

“Whether you’re traveling by car or through the air, make sure you have food, water, and warm clothing for everyone in your party,” Conde said. “Try to stay calm if there are delays.  Stress leads to aggressive behavior and makes for an unpleasant travel experience.”

In addition to personal emergency supplies, drivers are encouraged to travel with chains or studded tires where appropriate. Emergency beacons such as flashing lights and reflective triangles are useful safety devices if it should become necessary to stop on or near a roadway.

AAA also asks travelers to exercise moderation when consuming alcohol. Wednesday is an especially dangerous day – some people who don’t have to attend school or report to work on Thanksgiving may be tempted to overindulge the night before.  “Drunk driving is completely unacceptable, anytime, anywhere,” Conde said.