Thanksgiving travel in Tennessee expected to be near pre-pandemic levels – Clarksville Online

AAANashville, Tennessee – AAA forecasts 54.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. This national number remains slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

The same travel trend can be seen in Tennessee, as this year looks set to be the busiest Thanksgiving since 2019.

AAA predicts more than 1.2 million Tennesseans will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. That’s 16,000 (1.3%) more travelers to Tennessee than last year and just 6,700 (0.5%) fewer than in 2019.


total trip

car travel

air travel

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2022 forecast





Numbers 2021





Numbers 2020





Numbers 2019





National travel statistics can be found here

“Travel is still recovering from the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel at AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, especially during the holiday season. Travel spending is at its highest level since the pandemic began, which is a driving force behind our forecasts this year. AAA anticipates busy roads and long airport lines, so leave early and be flexible with your travel plans.”

89% of vacationers will drive

Despite higher gas prices, 89% of all Thanksgiving travelers drive. AAA forecasts that 48.65 million Americans will take vacation trips. That is 203,000 more drivers than in the previous year.

In Tennessee, 1.2 million will take a road trip; an increase of 12,000 people over last year’s holidays.

Gas prices to test record highs for the holiday

Pump prices have been volatile this month and could set new record highs for the holiday season. In Tennessee, the highest daily median price for Thanksgiving was reset to $3.18 a gallon in 2012. On Monday, drivers paid an average price of $3.30 a gallon. That’s 20 cents more than what Tennessee drivers paid last Thanksgiving ($3.10).

“Higher gas prices don’t seem to be enough to discourage people from traveling with family and friends,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We’ve found that when gas prices are high, travelers try to offset the extra costs by spending less on a hotel, shopping or dining.”

Travelers can use the free AAA mobile app to compare gas prices, find certified repair shops and member discounts near you during their trip.

The busiest travel days

If you’re going on vacation, go early. Travelers should expect much heavier traffic jams than normal Monday through Wednesday afternoons and early evenings. Traffic will be lighter in the mornings and late evenings and on Thanksgiving Day.

date Worst travel time Best travel time
11/23/22 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m Before 8:00 a.m., after 8:00 p.m
11/24/22 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m Before 11:00 a.m., After 18:00 p.m
11/25/22 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m Before 11:00 a.m., After 8:00 p.m
11/26/22 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m Before 2:00 p.m., After 8:00 p.m
11/27/22 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m Before 11:00 a.m., After 8:00 p.m

AAA expects rescue of 411,000 stranded motorists

More than 411,000 drivers need AAA roadside assistance over the holiday weekend. The most common reasons are dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.

AAA encourages drivers to receive a full vehicle inspection before hitting the road to check everything from tires, oil, air filters and wiper blades. AAA has a list of certified mechanics at

AAA reminds drivers to ‘drive over for me’

The more people share the streets, the greater the danger for people on the side of the road. AAA is reminding motorists to slow down and switch for first responders and tow trucks. We also ask that you show the same courtesy to people with disabled vehicles.

“We want to make sure that all vacationers, tow truck drivers and first responders get home safely this Thanksgiving,” Cooper said. “Please be polite and move over for flashing lights, whether it’s a tow truck or a disabled vehicle with its hazard lights on.”

Click here to learn more about Auto Club Group’s Move Over for Me campaign

Air travel is approaching pre-pandemic levels

In addition to traffic jams on the roads, Thanksgiving travelers are likely to encounter long lines at the airport. Nationwide, air travel is up nearly 8% year over year, with 4.5 million Americans flying to their Thanksgiving destinations this year. That’s an increase of more than 330,000 passengers and nearly 99% of 2019 volume.

Flight delays and even cancellations are not uncommon at this time of year due to winter weather, staffing challenges and heavy demand.

AAA offers the following tips for air travelers:

  • Check in early online.
  • Monitor your flight status with your airline’s mobile app.
  • Arrive 2-3 hours before scheduled departure.
  • Pack medication and extra clothing in your hand luggage in case your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Tips for air travelers who have not yet booked their flight:

  • Book a flight that leaves early in the day. Afternoon and evening flights are more prone to delays and cancellations.
  • Book a direct flight. Otherwise, allow extra time between connecting flights if your first flight is delayed.
  • Consider traveling on Thanksgiving. This might offer the best combination of availability and price.

“It’s not too late to get travel insurance, which can be extremely valuable for air travelers,” Haas said. “There are policies that can offer compensation for flight delays as little as three hours. And if your flight is cancelled, passengers can get compensation for covered expenses.”

Travel prices are usually higher than in the previous year

  • air fares 22% more than last year
    • The lowest round-trip fare is $166.00 compared to $135.0 in 2021
  • Hotels 17% more than 2021
    • A mid-range AAA three-diamond hotel costs $218.00 per night, up from $187.00 last year
  • Car Rentals cost 7% less
    • The average daily rate is $90.00 compared to $98.00 last year
    • Click here for AAA’s dos and don’ts for car rentals

Check out the full Leisure Travel Index for a price breakdown

The most popular travel destinations

Based on hotel bookings on

  1. Orlando,FL
  2. Anaheim, CA
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. New York, NY
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. Phoenix, AZ
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Chicago, IL
  10. Charlotte, NC

Thanksgiving holiday travel time

For purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel season is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday November 23rd to Sunday November 27th. The period from Wednesday to Sunday corresponds to that of previous years.

Vacation forecasting methodology

In partnership with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence has developed a unique method to forecast actual domestic travel volume. The economic variables used to predict travel for the current vacation are leveraged from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s proprietary databases.

This data includes macroeconomic factors such as employment; Exit; household assets; asset prices, including stock indices; Interest charges; Housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including gasoline prices, air travel and hotel stays. AAA and S&P Global Market Intelligence have quantified vacation travel volume since 2000.

Historical voyage volume estimates are from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/Monitorsm. The PERFORMANCE/Monitorsm is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of US citizens. DK SHIFFLET contacts over 50,000 US households each month for detailed travel data, resulting in the unique ability to estimate visitor volume and spend, identify trends and forecast US travel behavior – all after the trips have been taken.

The trip prognosis is reported in passenger trips. Specifically, AAA and S&P Global Market Intelligence forecast total US vacation travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast featured in this report was created in the week of October 10, 2022.

About AAA – The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members in 14 US states, the province of Quebec and two US territories.

ACG and its subsidiaries provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel and more. ACG is part of the national AAA association with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and promote freedom of mobility and improve road safety.

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