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AAA: 53 million in U.S. will travel for Thanksgiving; 13% rise over 2020

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AAA: 53 million in U.S. will travel for Thanksgiving; 13% rise over 2020
AAA said about 48.3 million people will drive somewhere for Thanksgiving. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The number of Americans who hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday later this month is expected to return to near prepandemic levels, AAA said in a forecast on Tuesday.

AAA projects that 53.4 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year -- an increase of 6.4 million, or 13%, over last year when COVID-19 led many people to mute or cancel plans to visit family and friends for the holiday.

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AAA projects that air travel will increase 80%.

"This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year," Paula Twidale, AAA Travel senior vice president, said in a statement.

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Travelers are seen in an empty terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on November 25, 2020. AAA says it expects 6.4 million more people will travel over Thanksgiving this year. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

"Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday."

AAA said about 48.3 million people will drive somewhere for Thanksgiving and 4.2 million will fly.

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"International travel re-opening will allow people to reconnect with friends and family and explore new places, while also giving a much-needed boost to the economy," Twidale added.

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AAA says the best times to travel will be after 9 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and the day after, and before noon over Thanksgiving weekend.

AAA notes that the average cost of gasoline is more than a dollar higher than it was a year ago.

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