TAMPA, Fla. — More people are expected to hit the roads this Thanksgiving. 

  • 54.3 million Americans expected to travel for Thanksgiving
  • Hightest travel volume since 2005
  • More info on AAA

AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. 

The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years—since 2005—with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails, and waterways compared with last year. 

For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip, AAA reported. 

The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.

INRIX and AAA predict that drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday. 

In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday, or Saturday, according to AAA. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend. 

And of course, will all the travelers on the roads, gas prices are expected to increase. Experts say motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of November 1, 31-cents more than a year ago.

If you plan on flying, experts say to account for long security lines, but also increased drive times to the airports. INRIX expects delays getting to the nation's busiest airports could be as long as an hour and a half. 

An analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving are usually the most popular air travel days and have the highest average price per round trip ticket. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day consistently has the lowest average price per ticket and is the lightest travel day. Travelers looking to save money this holiday season can fly the morning of the holiday and arrive just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Monday, November 19, 2018 — 3-year average ticket price, $465 — moderate crowds expected
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 — 3-year average ticket price, $509 — heavy crowds expected
  • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 — 3-year average ticket price, $507 — heavy crowds expected
  • Thursday, November 22, 2018 — 3-year average ticket price, $446 — light crowds expected 

And according to AAA, many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks, and warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Orlando, Florida tops the list of this year's top 10 holiday destinations. The list is based on AAA's online and travel agency air and tour bookings.  

Before you hit the roads for the holidays, make sure you do the necessary maintenance check on your vehicle, such as an oil change, fluid level checks, battery tests, and tire inspections. 

Happy holidays and safe travels, everyone!