Holiday travel is expected to be in complete swing this year, nearing pre-pandemic levels. AAA predicts more than 53 million people will travel this Thanksgiving, the highest single-year increase in travel since the Great Recession.
Of course, more travelers method more traffic: AAA says that 90% of travelers will be hitting the road for Thanksgiving, so your best bet is to plan ahead and beat the holiday rush.
“Leave early in the morning on Wednesday,” said AAA spokesman Andrew Gross. “If you wait until the afternoon, you’re going to be sitting in that old-fashioned traffic jam. Or wait until after nine o’clock Wednesday night. It’ll be a little quieter. And if you’re just going to go visit family [who are] comparatively close-by, that early morning Thanksgiving Day travel is always recommended if you’re going by car.”
Thanksgiving Travel in Virginia
In Virginia, the busiest travel day has historically been on Tuesday, with heavy traffic between noon and 8 p.m., and moderate congestion throughout the rest of the day, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said.
Heavy traffic is also likely on Wednesday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. both days, and moderate congestion on Saturday between those same hours, VDOT said.
VDOT has an interactive travel-trends map so you can check peak congestion periods on specific Virginia interstates. You can also download VDOT’s free mobile 511 app to get information on construction, traffic and congestion.
All HOV restrictions on Interstate 66 and rush-hour tolls on the I-66 Express Lanes inside the Capital Beltway will be lifted on Thanksgiving.
In addition, VDOT will suspend many highway work zones and lift most lane closures on interstates and other major roads between noon on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and noon on Monday, Nov. 29.
Thanksgiving Travel in Maryland
Maryland’s Department of Transportation has not however released their holiday travel information. Check back here for a future update.
News4’s Melissa Mollet speaks with a travel agent for tips on planning family vacations as travel rebounds.
Your Thanksgiving Travel Weather Forecast
Both Tuesday and Wednesday will be quiet weather days, said Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell. Sunny skies will prevail for several hundred miles in any direction from D.C., providing easy travel weather. Afternoon highs will stay in the 40s, and overnight lows will be near halting.
Our dry weather will last well into Thanksgiving Day. Clouds will increase throughout Thursday afternoon, leading to a rain chance Thursday evening into Friday morning.
already that rain chance won’t last long, and the sun should be back by Friday afternoon and the weekend.
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