Even with gas prices slightly higher this year than last, the American Automobile Association predicts the highest volume of Thanksgiving travelers in nine years. Area airports and roads are expected to be packed as people dash to holiday feasts.
The agency said that 48.7 million travelers will take a trip of 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday, nearly two percent more than last year and the highest since 2007.
AAA credits the increase to a robust third and fourth quarter economy, rising wages, increased consumer spending and low gas prices.
“While gas prices are slightly higher this year compared to last, gasoline is still a relative bargain and lots of people are driving to Grandma’s for turkey as a result,” Robert Sinclair, Jr., the manager of media relations for AAA Northeast, said in a statement.
Most Americans – about 43.5 million, or 89 percent – will travel by car to their destinations. Another 3.6 million will fly, a number 1.5 percent higher than last year. About 1.4 million will travel by train, bus or boat, AAA said.
The Port Authority of New York New Jersey said that 4.8 million travelers will use area bridges, airports and tunnels, as well as the PATH system, during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
In 2014, 679,127 drivers used the nine MTA bridges and tunnels on Thanksgiving Day. By 2015, 724,666 people were using those bridges and tunnels on Thanksgiving, a 16 percent increase year-over-year.
The busiest bridge in 2015 was the Triboro Bridge and the second busiest was the Throgs Neck Bridge, according to AAA.
With so many people hitting the roads for the holiday, police will be out in full force to look out for drivers violating speeding, seat belt and cell phone laws.
New Jersey State Police plans to have 140 additional troopers statewide during the holiday period in addition to normal patrols.
Last year, 10 crashes killed 12 on New Jersey roads during the Thanksgiving holiday, state police said.
Airlines for America, a trade organization, estimates that 27.3 million passengers will travel globally on U.S. airlines during the Thanksgiving travel period – a 2.5 percent rise from last year. That’s 2.27 million passengers per day from Nov. 18 to Nov. 29, the organization said.
Approximately 1.6 million passengers will travel through JFK, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Stewart International and Atlantic City International during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to PANYNJ.
PANYNJ estimates that about 717,000 air passengers will use JFK and 512,600 will use Newark Liberty.
Another 350,000 passengers are expected to use LaGuardia Airport during the holiday week, with travel peaking on Thursday, PANYNJ said.
PANYNJ urged travelers heading to LaGuardia to use mass transit to get to the airport if possible, because holiday traffic and ongoing construction could lead to major jams.
The TSA has announced what foods are and are not allowed in checked bags, and they include some Thanksgiving staples.
Pies, cakes, bread, donuts and turkeys are permitted in checked bags, according to the TSA.
However, quite a few foods are prohibited. If in a container greater than 3.4 ounces, the following foods aren’t allowed: cranberry sauce, creamy dips and spreads, gravy, jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, soups, sauces, wine, liquor and beer.