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Thanksgiving weekend travel near pre-pandemic levels

Thanksgiving travel
Posted at 7:55 PM, Nov 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-28 22:55:31-05

MISSION VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) — Sunday is one of the busiest days for Thanksgiving travel as millions of people return home from the holiday.

AAA says overall Thanksgiving travel this year is only three percent less than 2019.

Despite high gas prices, driving has always been the most popular way to get around. It's up 9 percent this year with air travel and other methods even higher.

The sharpest rise was seen in trains, buses, and cruises.

"Last year a lot of people were not taking trains or buses and of course, cruises were not in operation so just a huge rebound in travel," said Doug Shupe, AAA Southern California spokesperson.

As for gas prices, San Diego currently has the third-highest average in Southern California at $4.66.

Still, Shupe says driving is the most cost-effective way of travel.

"it's more cost-effective for a family of four to take that round trip road trip than purchase airline tickets for everybody in the family," said Shupe.

Because we're not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, Shupe expects round trip road trips to only increase.

"Especially when you hear about new variants of the coronavirus that are just starting... again people just feel like they have more control when they're in their own vehicle," said Shupe.

Along with crowded roads are busy airports.

"Getting into Sacramento airport... two hours early wasn't early enough," said, Lisa Elliot who is visiting San Diego.

This year's Thanksgiving air travel is up 82% from 2020.

"Coming back into the real world and everybody traveling again yea it's different... it was a shocker, actually," said Elliot.

Shupe expects travel volume to be even higher for the end of the year holidays.

He said safety should come first and encourages people not to drink or text and drive.

"It's the first time that so many people are going to reconnect with their loved ones. We want them to get to their destinations and get home safely," said Shupe.

Shupe suggests if you are planning to travel soon to book early even if your trip is next year. He also recommends working with a reputable travel advisor that can help you navigate traveling during the pandemic.