Thanksgiving travel bounces back in Tennessee

High gas prices will not stop people from traveling this holiday

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – As Covid restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA says travel is seeing a 13% increase when compared to last year at this time.

With the Thanksgiving weekend upon us, it is predicted that  more than 53 million Americans will be traveling. But they’ll be giving more than thanks this holiday as gas prices will be the highest in nearly a decade.

In contrast to the many Americans who were worried about traveling to family gatherings last year,  GasBuddy reports that nearly 75-percent of Americans say COVID-19 will have no impact on their holiday plans this year.

AAA predicts that more than 1.2 million Tennessee residents will leave their homes and travel for the 2021 holiday which is  only 3% less than pre-pandemic levels. 

“Wednesday after 9pm will be the busiest time to be on the road pre-thanksgiving. People may be working a full day tomorrow, get home , get everybody piled in the car and then head off to their destination. That way they can spend the night, wake  up and be ready to celebrate thanksgiving with their families,” says Stephanie Milani, Director of Public Affairs for AAA. 

Most travelers are expected to avoid air travel  this week—- and according to  AAA, will be hitting the road along with another 48 million drivers.  If you are planning to drive instead of catching a flight,  expect traffic delays and high gas prices. 

“Good news is that we did see prices go from the $80 barrel range down to $75 at the end of last week. Unfortunately that isn’t going to have enough of an impact on soon enough to affect gas prices at the pump. So we will still see these elevated gas prices at the pump through the thanksgiving travel holiday,” says Milani. 

Tennessee Highway Patrol says troopers will be stationed throughout the interstates to help make sure everyone gets to their destination safely this holiday weekend.

“We do not want any of our troopers to have to come and knock on anyone’s door to give you that horrific news that your loved one or friend has been killed in a car crash. Please help us to help you stay safe. Do not speed, don’t drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt,” says Lt. Bill Miller, PIO of THP.

AAA wants to also remind travelers  to expect heavy delays Saturday and Sunday as most Americans will be heading home from their holiday feasts.

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