PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Around 55.4 million people nationwide — and 785,000 Oregonians — are expected to journey at least 50 miles from home over the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA’s Oregon/Idaho division has told travelers what to anticipate before hitting the highway or heading to the airport next week.
The upcoming Thanksgiving travel period lasts from Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26, the roadside assistance organization said.
With 16.5% of Americans projected to leave their homes for the holiday, Thanksgiving trips have only gone up 2.3% in one year.
Still, AAA estimated this could be the third-busiest Turkey Day for travel since the organization started monitoring trends in 2000. 2005 and 2019 took the top two spots.
According to authorities, driving will be the most common mode of transportation for the holiday. They forecasted that 89% of travelers will use cars to reach their destinations.
“Since Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, drivers will encounter peak traffic delays on Tuesday and Wednesday as travelers head to their destinations, and again on Sunday as folks drive back home,” AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds noted.
The association listed the best — and worst — times to start a road trip next week.
That Tuesday, the highway could be congested any time between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Wednesday, heavy traffic is expected from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Sunday, any time between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. is considered the ‘worst’ for drivers.
However, driving isn’t the only way Oregonians are traveling. Flight bookings have grown 6.6% compared to last year, and other transportation modes like buses, trains and even cruise ships have also increased by 11%.
The demand for travel has been strong all-year-round, according to AAA Oregon/Idaho Senior Vice President of Travel Doreen Loofburrow. But authorities said the bustling holiday season shouldn’t deter anyone.
“With some planning and preparation, you can have an enjoyable trip,” Loofburrow stated. “Weather is always the wild card so be prepared for the possibility of winter storms.”
Weather is top-of-mind for Oregonians preparing for their Thanksgiving journeys. KOIN 6 Meteorologist Josh Cozart anticipates cooler, wetter days for the metropolitan area throughout the travel period.
Although winter-like temperatures are on the forecast, Portland and neighboring cities don’t have to worry about snow as of yet.