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Millions of Americans travel for the holidays

54 million Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, nearing the amount reported before the pandemic.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Millions of Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving, nearing pre-pandemic numbers.

AAA estimates over 54 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday. 48.7 million Americans are expected to drive. While most will drive for the holiday, many will also be flying. AAA estimates an 8% increase in flyers from 2021, with a total of 4.51 million Americans taking to the skies.

At XNA, many travelers who headed out of NWA to their Thanksgiving gatherings were excited about their trips.

"I'm going to Phoenix, Arizona to visit some family today for Thanksgiving. I can't wait to go," said Charlie Di Maria, a University of Arkansas student. 

"This will be the first time we've gone down for Thanksgiving," said Jim Hauskey, a Springdale resident. "So lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving coming out of the pandemic."

"I think it makes it really special because I think things have gotten a lot better," said Ginger Brown, a Fayetteville resident. "I know we've got the flu we have to watch out for, but people need to just smile put on their happy faces and enjoy the holiday with friends and family."

Despite rising ticket prices, many are choosing to travel. According to Priceline, domestic flights this holiday season are 15% more expensive than last year, while international airfares rose 20%.

"Wednesday is the busiest travel day with peak travel times from mid-morning, all the way into the evening hours—from about 11 am to 8 pm," said AAA Spokesperson Nick Chabarria.

Chabarria says gas prices are trending downwards. While you may be saving some cash at the pump, there's still a concern about congestion.

"If you can leave early in the morning, that's going to help you avoid some of that congestion, especially around the larger metro areas," said Chabarria.

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