More than 1.7 million Michiganders will travel this Thanksgiving


FILE – In this July 1, 2016 file photo, drivers work their way out of Dallas during rush hour. The U.S. government’s road safety agency says traffic deaths fell by a small amount for the second straight year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed the 2.4% drop partially to technology in newer vehicles that can prevent crashes. The agency says the downward trend is continuing into 2019. First-half estimates show fatalities down 3.4%. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Michiganders are packing their bags and taking to the skies and roads this Thanksgiving.

And this year, traveling is at its second highest, according to AAA.

The majority of Michigan travelers, almost 1.6 million, will travel by car this Thanksgiving, which is the most since 2005, AAA reports.

Additionally, air travel is projected to grow 5.4% this year, seeing its biggest increase in travel volume for the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 150,000 Michiganders are expected to fly.

Travel by buses, trains and cruise ships this year has the smallest increase this year with roughly 46,000 Michiganders taking this form of transit.

But with more people traveling, comes more traffic.

“With record levels of travelers, and persistent population growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas, drivers must prepare for major delays,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”

AAA estimates trips will take four times longer than normal in major metro areas. In Detroit, people can expect 2.6 times the delay and in Chicago, 2.4 times the normal commute. And for those flying out of the midwest, here’s a look at the traffic delay expectations in other major U.S. cities:

Source: INRIX

Metro Area Worst Time Wednesday, Nov. 27 Delay Multiplier
Atlanta 5:30-7:30 PM 3.5x
Los Angeles 5:00-7:00 PM 3.5x
New York 5:15-7:15 PM 3.5x
Washington DC 3:00-5:00 PM 2.8x
Detroit 5:15-7:15 PM 2.6x
Chicago 4:15-6:15 PM 2.4x

For those traveling by car, gas prices are cheaper than the national average at this time last year, which was $2.57/gal. AAA expects most car-related issues this holiday to include dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts — so if you haven’t yet scheduled an appointment for car maintenance, be sure to squeeze it in before you leave for your trip.

For flying travelers, AAA says the lowest average ticket price is the Monday before Thanksgiving, with a cost of $486 round trip. Additionally, Thanksgiving Day tickets also came at a lower cost in comparison to other flights at $454 per ticket.

AAA also wants to remind travelers that beginning Oct. 1, 2020, anyone who boards a domestic or commercial flight must present a real ID compliant driver’s license, ID card, passport or acceptable alternative ID approved by TSA. You can register to make an appointment to obtain an ID card or REAL ID through the Secretary of State’s office.

*AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Dec. 1.

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