The Christmas and New Year 2023 travel season is almost upon us and, after what has been a challenging year for a U.S. aviation sector still battling staff shortages, extreme weather events, near-misses, delays and cancellations, it promises to be one of the busiest ever holiday periods both for U.S. airports and on the roads.
115 million will go at least 50 miles
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is forecasting 115 million Americans will journey at least 50 miles from home during the festivities.
Road travel remains the most popular way to get around. A whopping 104 million Americans are predicted jump in their cars to undertake at least part of their seasonal travel.
Looking at the period from Saturday, December 23 to Monday, January 1, the AAA expects it to be the second busiest year since their records began. The busiest was 2019.
Flying cheaper than last year
Meanwhile 7.5 million people are expected to take to the air, taking advantage of flights that are slightly less expensive than last year and beating 2019’s record of 7.3 million flyers, according to the figures released on Monday.
And while the 4 million Americans planning to use “alternative” and shared transport methods seems relatively low compared to the other predictions – that number still represents an increase over the 3.89 million who chose to do so in 2019.
How can I beat the queues?
Unsurprisingly, data from transport data analysts INRIX tells us the days on which you’ll encounter the fewest other people out and about are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If you’re lucky enough to be able to delay your travel until then, it’s a wise move. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are also less popular days to travel.
In terms of timing, aim to complete your journey before midday or delay it until after 7pm in the evening, if you want to beat the rush.
The worst days to travel look likely to be Saturday, December 23, and Thursday, December 28.
At the airport
Ensure you keep checking updates from your airline and the airports you are using so you avoid a wasted journey in the event your flight is cancelled. It’s also worth being prepared in advance for long delays and building contingency time into onward travel plans. In the event you need to try to sleep at an airport, Travel Tomorrow has advice you need to hear.