DENVER — Roads and airports will be nearly at pre-pandemic levels this Thanksgiving holiday.
AAA forecasts that 53.4 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving, just 5% off the travel volumes of 2019 and up 13% over last year, the highest single-year jump since 2005.
Holiday travel will be even higher in Colorado, with figures coming in at just 3.7% below 2019 as 925,000 Coloradans are set to travel for Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, Nov. 24, will be the busiest day on the roads, with the highest volume anticipated that afternoon, according to AAA.
Travelers will encounter higher prices at the gas pump, hotels and the car rental counter, however the lowest-priced plane tickets are 27.3% less than last year.
"In some ways, 2021 will look more like a normal holiday travel season - at least compared to last year," said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. "Now that the U.S. borders are open, vaccines are readily available, and new health and safety guidelines are in place, Americans are reuniting with their loved ones for the holidays. That's all set against a complicated travel backdrop, though, so travelers should budget extra time and understand that we're still living in extraordinary times."
Nationwide, automobile travel will be up 8% and 840,000 Coloradans will be hitting the roads for Thanksgiving, according to AAA.
Air travel has almost completely recovered from its pandemic drop-off and demand is up 80% over 2020.
"Thanksgiving comes as international travelers return to American airports, so Americans should plan for longer lines and extra time for TSA checks," McKinley said. "At the same time, while vaccines spurred a quick resurgence in demand, travelers need to know that it takes much longer to rebuild supply - so traveling in 2021 isn't the same as traveling in 2019."
AAA recommends travelers be patient, prepared and proactive. Travelers should leave plenty of extra time for traveling on the road and at airports.
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