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Americans will get back to traveling close to pre-pandemic levels for their Thanksgiving dinner this year, with the number of holiday travelers expected to increase by 13% in 2020, when more people stay home, AAA an estimate Tuesday.

important facts

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An estimated 53.4 million Americans will travel between Wednesday, November 24 and Sunday, November 28, AAA predicted in its 2021 Thanksgiving travel forecast, up from the 47.1 million who traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2020.

The 53.4 million figure is only 5% less than the number of travelers in 2019, when 56 million Americans traveled for vacation.

Of those passengers, 48.3 million are expected to travel by car – an 8.4% increase from 2020 and down just 3% from 2019 – with the AAA noting that there are more people in 2018 than those traveling by car.

Another 4.2 million Americans will travel by plane, which is an 80% increase in 2020 and 9% less than the 4.5 million Americans who flew in 2019.

Only 1.02 million will travel by other means of transport – such as train or bus – which is still 31% less than in 2019, but a 264% increase over 2020.

AAA predicts that Tuesday, November 23 will be the busiest and most expensive day to fly and that Monday, November 29 will be least crowded, while those traveling by car will be between 1:30 and 6:00 pm on Wednesdays. The heaviest traffic one can expect. One must visit before noon or on Thanksgiving Day to beat the crowd.

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