Get ready, Thanksgiving travel could reach record levels
PEORIA (25News Now) - According to national and state data, millions will leave home in search of friends, family, and some pumpkin pie.
AAA, which has been tracking holiday travel data since 2000, said this year will be the third-busiest in its 23-year history.
55.4 million people will leave home, the vast majority of them by car. Just under 5 million will travel by plane nationwide.
At Peoria International Airport, the parking lot was full Monday afternoon. Travelers have trickled in all weekend, and more will come from now until Wednesday. PIA expects around 12,000 passengers for the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to PIA, this year has exceeded its expectations for travel, meeting and beating levels seen pre-pandemic at the airport.
“It’s basically back,” Director of Airports Gene Olson said of holiday travel. “October was our third best October ever. Now we’re not really comparing ourselves to COVID anymore, we’re comparing ourselves to what used to be normal.”
In Illinois, nearly 3 million will take a trip for Thanksgiving, 2.5 million of them by car. Lower gas prices help, as the national average is around $3.25 per gallon, with some stations in the Greater Peoria Area boasting $3.15 and less.
Based on AAA’s analysis, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to hit the road, between 2 and 6 p.m. The hours before the Thanksgiving feast, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will also be busy.
|Day||Best Time to Leave||Worst Time to Leave|
|Wednesday, Nov. 22||Before 11 a.m.||2 to 6 p.m.|
|Thursday, Nov. 23||Before 10 a.m., after 5 p.m.||11 a.m. to 3 p.m.|
|Friday, Nov. 24||Before 11 a.m., After 7 p.m.||noon to 4 p.m.|
|Saturday, Nov. 25||Before noon||3 to 5 p.m.|
|Sunday. Nov. 26||Before noon||3 p.m. to 5 p.m.|
According to AAA
The expected record-breaking travel has locals like Kathy Pettet getting her gas and groceries ahead of the rush.
“Too much traffic on the roads,” Pettet said from inside her car at a Morton gas station. “Most of my family lives here so I’m just going to make something at my house and people are going to travel to my house.”
Experts suggest leaving early and giving yourself plenty of time to arrive to your destination, whether it be by plane, train, or automobile.
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