Holiday travel predicted to reach pre-pandemic numbers

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(ABC 6 News) – If you are packing your bags and hitting the roads or taking to the skies this holiday season, you’re not alone.

AAA is expecting over 53 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving this year, the highest one-year increase AAA has seen since 2005.

This goes for all modes of travel whether you’re taking a train, a cruise, a plane or a car.

"We haven’t quite reached pre-pandemic levels but we did make a significant jump," Meredith Mitts, Public Affairs Specialist with AAA Minnesota/Iowa, said.

Experts are saying to book your flights and rental cars as soon as you can if you have not already.

"The sooner the better is the case for all travel modes honestly at this point in time just because there are so many people traveling," Mitts said.

For those traveling by car, those numbers are expected to grow by almost four million from 2020.

"That’s the highest growth rate for automotive travel since The Great Recession. What this means is that there are going to be a lot of people on the roads," Mitts said.

She says a majority of travelers are going to be traveling by car.

Things are different this year. We now have a vaccine for COVID-19, even for our little ones.

"I think that has played a lot into consumer confidence and travelers confidence and then just the desire to be back with family and friends again is also a huge proponent," Mitts said.

AAA is seeing a comfort level with people starting to travel again.