Wednesday December 8th, 2021 4:22AM

AAA: More Georgians traveling for Thanksgiving 2021 than 2020

By Alyson Shields Reporter

With the Thanksgiving holiday next week, more Georgians are planning to travel this year than they were last year, according to AAA.

"Of course, compared to last year to this year, travel has picked up quite a bit. AAA predicts right now nearly 1.6 million Georgians will travel this Thanksgiving," said AAA Spokeswoman Montrae Waiters. "That is crazy because that is like a 12% increase of course from holiday travel, Thanksgiving travel in particular, last year." 

Though, we're not quite back up to 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019, 1.7 million people traveled in Georgia.

"We are only trending... when I say pre-pandemic, I'm speaking of 2019, under those numbers, we only fall below 3%," said Waiters. "So that is quite a jump from 2019 to our current travelers this year in 2021."

Georgians will be traveling by car, bus, and other methods, like by train. Waiters said of the 1.6 million traveling, the majority - 1.5 million - will travel by car, just over 108,000 are estimated to travel by air, and just over 18,000 will travel by other methods, like by train or bus.

No matter how you chose to travel, Waiters said to pack your patience.

"It's very important for you to be patient," said Waiters. "Make sure that if you're flying, you arrived at the airport at least two hours earlier. They're going to be lines at gas stations if you're traveling on the road this Thanksgiving, so maybe longer lines for people filling up before hitting the road. You know, just consider that people may be a little stressed out there driving on the road, so be patient."

Air travelers should have already booked their flights, Waiters said. She encouraged travelers to be proactive about booking flights and accommodations in advance of traveling.  

Those hitting the roads need to be alert.

"One of the main things I want folks, especially travelers in cars to be aware of this year, is making sure that you know they don't drive distracted when they hit the road," said Waiters. She also urged motorists to watch out for those on the side of the road.

"With more travelers in hitting the road, you're going to have more breakdowns on the side of the road. Those folks are going to need assistance whether it's from a law enforcement officer or tow truck service providers coming to rescue them on the side of the road," said Waiters. "Make sure when we see flashing lights, or as a courtesy, if you see a traveler broke down on the side of the road, move over to the left lane, if you can, and if you can't move over just slow down under the posted speed limit."

She also encouraged motorists to get their cars inspected prior to traveling.

As for gas prices, Waiters said Georgians can expect them to remain high. Prices have been trending between $3.24 and $3.25, Waiters said.

"Usually during the Thanksgiving holiday, we see gas prices increase because of the demand. And of course, travel has picked up and unfortunately since crude oil is still trending over $80 a barrel per day, gas prices you know will probably trend maybe two to four cents more for Georgia, and by the time Thanksgiving comes next week," said Waiters. "Or, we may say between $3.24, $3.25 it's just that the market is so crazy at this time, it's just hard to tell."

AAA Travel also predicts Atlanta will be a top destination in the United States for Thanksgiving travel this year.

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