Thanksgiving will be on the lighter side when it comes to the typical number of travelers on the roads and at airports. According to AAA Travel, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and high unemployment, are impacting Americans’ decisions to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. With health and government officials stressing that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick, AAA anticipates at least a 10% drop in travel — the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.
AAA projects 50 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving. In Georgia, the expectation is 1.6 million travelers. However, these figures could be even lower as Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel health notices.
For Americans who make the personal decision to travel for the holiday, it is important to know the risks involved and ways to keep yourself and others safe..
What to Know Before You Go• Plan Ahead. Check with state and local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.
• Follow Public Health Guidance. Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular handwashing are the best ways to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.
• Verify Before You Go. Call ahead to minimize any last minute surprises.
Hotels — Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests. Ask about social distancing protocols like capacity reductions in common spaces, hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times and if all amenities are available, like restaurant dining.
Car rentals — If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. Hertz, for example, has introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process.
Wednesday is Busiest Day on the RoadsTraffic volume is expected to be less than in years past, but travelers in major urban areas will experience increased delays at popular bottlenecks, up to 30% above normal pandemic congestion levels. INRIX expects Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 25, to see the highest volume of traffic.
In the Atlanta region, I-85 South from Decatur Street to Clairemont Road is the busiest corridor, with peak congestion period at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 with a 38 minute delay.
Road Trippers to Be Met with Lower Gas PricesThose who decide to hit the road for Thanksgiving will find cheaper gas prices. AAA advises these travelers to plan ahead and take precautions to be a responsible traveler. On average, Georgia gas prices are 50 cents cheaper than this time last year.