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Thanksgiving 2023: Here are the busiest times to drive, fly for the holiday weekend

ATLANTA — If you are one of the more than 55 million travelers heading out of town for Thanksgiving, you might want to prepare for crowded roads and airports.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is forecasting 2023 to be the third highest-traveled Thanksgiving since 2000.

AAA projects more than 55 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

Driving is expected to be the most common method of travel as AAA projects more than 49 million Americans will hit the roads, which is up 1.7% compared to last year.

“For many Americans, Thanksgiving and travel go hand in hand, and this holiday, we expect more people on the roads, skies, and seas compared to 2022,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel.

“Travel demand has been strong all year, and AAA’s Thanksgiving forecast reflects that continued desire to get away and spend time with loved ones,” she added.

In comparison, nearly 5 million people will fly over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA.

Tuesday and Wednesday are considered the most expensive days to fly. While Sunday is typically the busiest day to return home, AAA data shows Monday is also a popular day to fly back after Thanksgiving.

The busiest time for drivers will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday. On Thanksgiving day, the busiest drive time is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On Friday, the busiest time is listed as 12 to 4 p.m. Throughout Thanksgiving weekend, the busiest travel time will be between 3 and 5 p.m.

WSB-TV’s Leo Tochterman contributed to this story

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