Expect Record-Breaking Holiday Travel… Again

By: Anneken Tappe · December 13, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Busier Than Ever

It’s going to be one of the busiest holiday travel periods on record, according to AAA .

Sound familiar? Forgive us for sounding like a broken record. Both Fourth of July and Thanksgiving set travel records this year. Now the Christmas and New Year’s period is expected to do the same. AAA began tracking holiday travel trends in 2000, and this year has the second-highest projections recorded to date.

That means airports and highways will likely be jam-packed with travelers — so it may be worth planning ahead. Remember, last year saw major airline issues, mostly due to bad winter storms and Southwest Airlines’s (LUV) technical difficulties.

More Records in 2023

AAA expects more than 115 million Americans to travel during the 10 days between December 23 and the New Year. That’s a 2.2% jump from last year, or an additional 2.5 million travelers.

Of those travelers, 7.5 million are expected to get to their destination by plane, which would beat the 2019 record of 7.3 million.

When To Travel

Americans should brace for a few days of bad traffic around the holidays, with Saturday, December 23, and Thursday, December 28, expected to be the worst.

Specifically, the busiest times to travel on those days are projected to be late morning until early evening on the 23rd, and the afternoon until early evening on the 28th.

It’s worth noting that traffic is not expected to be an issue on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day.

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