The best and worst times to travel for Thanksgiving

Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 14, 2018

Wednesday marks eight days until Thanksgiving, but the holiday travel season starts in just two days, on Friday.

That's according to AAA, which is expecting to see an earlier-than-usual rush this year.

If you think holiday travel gets worse every year, turns out you're right.

"Every year we see a little bit more people" on the travel forecast, says AAA Public Affairs Specialist Megan Cooper.

This Thanksgiving, expect to share the road and sky with 54 million people across the country. That's more than we've seen since 2005.

1.24 million of those travelers hail from Tennessee.

"We're finding that consumers overall have a little bit more disposable income, we have a little bit higher wages, so that leads into a more confident consumer," Cooper explained.

The TSA expects to set records at airports across the country, with more people forecasted to fly than ever before.

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But there is a little bit of good news for travelers concerned about a hectic holiday getaway: gas prices are down 20 cents in Tennessee, which will help drivers who plan to log a lot of miles.

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If you're still finalizing your plans, AAA warns more people are leaving for their destinations earlier than ever. Which means it's not only Wednesday, but also Monday and Tuesday when staff expect to see heavy traffic, especially in the afternoon.

Plans not yet set? The lightest travel day will be Thursday.

"It might behoove you to travel on Thanksgiving morning and arrive in time for dinner," Cooper said.

After Thanksgiving, AAA says Sunday will be the day to avoid, with Friday and Saturday more open on the roads. 

Whichever day you travel, Cooper suggests you do so early in the day to avoid the worst congestion.