Officials predict holiday travel will be busiest in recent history

Staff Report

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Officials are predicting the holiday season to be one of the busiest in recent history.

According to AAA data, nearly 55 million people are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, an increase of 1.5% over 2021 and 98% of pre-pandemic travel volume. Of those travelers, more than 7.3 million are estimated to come from California.

Air travel is predicted to see the greatest growth in travelers. About 4.5 million people are flying to their Thanksgiving destination, a nearly 8% increase over 2021. And nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car. 

“The upcoming holiday is projected to be one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” said Senior Vice President of Membership and Travel Marketing for AAA Northern California Brian Ng. “Planning ahead will go a long way toward alleviating holiday travel stress.”

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport said recently it is experiencing the highest November passenger numbers since 2008.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, RNO is expecting approximately 60,000 passengers to pass through the airport, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

The busy holiday travel will also be impacted this year by construction that has closed the former passenger drop-off lanes, reduced the number of entrances and narrowed the Ticketing Hall. 

“We advise passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours early to navigate parking, construction and the influx of travelers going through security,” an airport spokesperson said.

AAA offers five Thanksgiving travel tips

  • Airport parking lots fill up fast. Reserve a spot ahead of time.
  • Expect long TSA lines and consider not checking a bag for additional flexibility if flights are delayed or rescheduled.
  • Road traffic peaks the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. Travel during off-peak periods (before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.), if possible. 
  • Over 400,000 Thanksgiving travelers will call AAA for roadside assistance nationwide. Get a pre-trip inspection to ensure your vehicle is road-ready. 

Gas prices are nearly $0.83 cents more per gallon than last year. Find the lowest gas prices on your travel route with the AAA Mobile App.

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