MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – With less than two days until Thanksgiving, holiday travel is in full swing as many make their way out the door to their holiday destination. AAA predicts 53 million Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving away from home this year making it the highest year over year increase since 2005.
Travel experts predict about 48 million of those traveling will hit the road this year for Thanksgiving, equaling about 90 percent of all travelers expected to travel for the holiday – packing up their car, their kids and driving to their destination.
Holiday travelers excited, gearing up to hit the road to celebrate with family.
“Ecstatic, yeah,” says Chris Cacciatore who is traveling home to Chicago to see his family.
Packed roads as many head out and Thanksgiving travel across the country bounces back in a big way. Officials say it won’t come without drivers feeling the impact at the pump. The national average for gas is $3.41 a gallon, up from just $2.10 this time last year. Some say the $1.31 increase won’t keep them from driving.
“It doesn’t impact me but I definitely think about it like sometimes I won’t fill my tank up all the way because I just don’t like seeing that big number on the screen but it’s not impacting if I’m traveling or where I’m traveling,” says a traveler going to celebrate the holiday in the upstate.
Cacciatore who is headed to Chicago says the higher gas prices means he can’t afford to make the roughly 14 hour drive. He says it’s a reality many college students are facing who also can’t afford to fill-up their tank and drive home.
“I need to fly because the gas prices are up a little bit so unfortunately due to that it just made more sense to fly home,” says Cacciatore.
It’s a trend Cacciatore thinks will likely carry through the end of the year with more college students and younger adults opting to hit the skies.
“Yeah I think you’re going to see a lot more flights probably for the holidays over the gas prices,” says Cacciatore.
Gas experts say it’s likely the supply of gas won’t catch up to demand until sometime next year in 2022 keeping prices high for consumers. Travelers say they’re just trying to focus on a holiday together with family and friends.
“Have a good Thanksgiving,” says Cacciatore.
Law enforcement agencies say they’ll be out in higher numbers through the end of the holiday week looking for speeding, impaired and reckless driving on some of the busiest roads across the state of South Carolina. They predict Sunday to be the busiest for those returning home from Thanksgiving.