Published On: Mon, Nov 19th, 2018

Turkey Trot: Nearly 650,000 Philadelphia-area residents to travel for Thanksgiving

Nearly 650,000 Philadelphia-area residents will travel 50 miles or more away from home for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a five percent increase over 2017 and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic 

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

Nationally, AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. Travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as four times longer than the optimal trip.

“A strong economy and labor market are generating higher wages and more disposable income, enabling more confident consumers to spend on travel this holiday season,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The increase in the number of travelers from the Philadelphia area taking to the roads, air and other modes of transport, mirrors the national trend.”

2018 Projected Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers
P
hiladelphia (5-county) Area

NUMBER OF TRAVELERS

Total Population

2018 Travelers

Percent of population traveling

Percent change vs. 2017

Philadelphia
(5-county) TOTAL – auto, air & other

4,119,268*

642,606

15.6%

5.0%

Philadelphia
(5-county) Auto

89% of people travel by car

572,578

13.9%

5.1%

Philadelphia
(5-county) Air

9% of people travel by air

57,670

1.4%

5.6%

Pennsylvania
Auto, Air & Other

12,805,537*

1,997,664

15.6%

5.0%

Pennsylvania
Auto

89% of people travel by car

1,779,970

13.9%

5.1%

Pennsylvania
Air

9% of people travel by air

179,278

1.4%

5.6%

National TOTAL

328.6 million*

54.3 million

16.5%

4.8%

National Auto

89% of people travel by car

48.5 million

14.8%

4.9%

National Air

8% of people travel by air

4.3 million

1.3%

5.4%

Philadelphia-Area Thanksgiving Travel 2018

  • Road trip ready: 89 percent of Philly travelers – 572,578 – will hit the road for the holiday, a 5.1 percent increase over last year.
  • Fueling up: The Philadelphia 5-county area gas price average is $2.84 (Tues.), nine cents higher than Thanksgiving Day 2017 ($2.75/gallon).
  • Fuller skies: More than 57,000 Philly travelers will take to the skies for Thanksgiving, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to 2017.

National Thanksgiving Travel 2018

  • Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers – 48.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 4.9 percent over last year.
  • Fueling up: Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average at $2.69 (Tues.), 13 cents higher than one year ago.
  • Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers.
  • Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.4 percent to 1.48 million travelers.

Locally, the top ten traffic hotspots for Thanksgiving travel in and around the Philadelphia Metro area will be:

  1. I-295 S @ I-76/Exit 26 (Camden County, NJ)
  2. I-76 E @ Belmont Avenue/Exit 338 (Montgomery County)
  3. I-76 W @ PA-320.Gulph Road/Exit 330 (Montgomery County)
  4. I-76 W @ Montgomery Drive/Exit 341 (Philadelphia County)
  5. I-95 S @ US-322/Exit 2/Exit3 (Delaware County)
  6. I-476 N @ US-1/Exit 5 (Delaware County)
  7. PA-309 S @ Stump Road (Montgomery County)
  8. US-202 N @ US-1/Baltimore Pike (Delaware County)
  9. I-95 N @ Aramingo Avenue/Richmond Street (Philadelphia County)
  10. I-476 S @ I-95 (Delaware County)

Highs and Lows: Car rentals, airfare and hotel rates

  • Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will increase five percent this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $165.
  • Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63/day, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than 2017.
  • AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel rates have decreased six percent this year to an average nightly rate of $166.  Conversely, the average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has increased five percent to an average nightly rate of $124.

Lockouts, flat tires to strand 360,000 U.S. motorists this Thanksgiving

  • AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
  • Last Thanksgiving (Nov. 22 – 26), AAA Mid-Atlantic rescued more than 5,500 in the Philadelphia area.

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