115.2 Million People Expected to Travel for the Holidays

Ashlyn Harmon of New Orleans searches for her Southwest Airlines bags amongst hundreds of
AP Photo/Erin Hooley

More than 115 million people are expected to travel for the holidays, according to estimates from AAA.

According to the report, AAA is estimating that 115.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their home base during what it described as the “10-day year-end holiday travel period” surrounding Christmas and after New Year’s. Of those, 7.51 million are expected to travel by air, and 103.6 million are expected to travel by vehicle.

That air travel projection, specifically, would exceed the air travel record of 7.3 million for the holiday season, set in 2019. According to WOKV, Florida alone is expected to see 370,000 Floridians catching a flight for their holiday travels, reflecting a 15,000 bounce from 2022.

If those AAA figures hold up, it will reflect a 2.2 percent increase from 2022’s holiday travel figures, or +2.2 million people. And while it would not hold as the busiest holiday season — that goes to 2019, which saw 119 million travelers — it would be the second highest travel season.

“This year-end holiday forecast, with an additional 2.5 million travelers compared to last year, mirrors what AAA Travel has been observing throughout 2023,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in the press release.

“More Americans are investing in travel, despite the cost, to make memories with loved ones and experience new places,” Twidale added.

More via AAA:

AAA expects nearly 104 million people will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 1.8% compared to 2022. This year’s projected number of drivers is the second highest on record after 2019 when 108 million drivers hit the road for the holidays. As 2023 comes to a close, drivers can expect to pay about the same or less for a gallon of gas than they did last holiday season, when the national average on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day was $3.10 and $3.20 respectively.

As of Friday at noon Eastern, delayed flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were 1,478, and U.S.-related flight cancellations stood at 47, per FlightAware.


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