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How to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams and crowds: when, where and what is the best way to leave New York for Thanksgiving


Alina Prikhodko

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Americans are going to travel a lot this year for Thanksgiving. This means not only meetings with relatives, but also traffic jams and crowds at airports. Lohud has prepared a guide for New Yorkers that will help avoid traffic jams and prepare for the holiday weekend in advance.

Between Wednesday, November 22 and Sunday, November 26, approximately 55,4 million Americans will travel more than 80 miles from home.

The most popular type of transport during the holidays is a car. The most popular tourist destinations in the United States are Florida, particularly Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. New York City ranks as the sixth most popular Thanksgiving destination in 2023.

If you're planning an international trip, expect plenty of travel companions on flights to Cancun and Mexico City, Mexico, as well as Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

On the roads

According to the AAA (American Automobile Association), about 49,1 million Americans, up 1,7% from 2022, will drive to celebrate Thanksgiving 2023. They will also pay less for gas this year. The national average gas price is $3,36 per gallon, down 42 cents from 2022.

On the subject: Travel smart: 15 things to do before flying

Wednesday, November 22nd is forecast to be the busiest day for road travel. According to travel data company INRIX, average travel times on roads could be up to 88% higher than usual. To avoid the heaviest traffic, passengers should leave early in the morning or after 18 p.m., the company said.

The New York State Thruway is undergoing reconstruction. Work has been completed at 11 points, but work is still underway at the next 12 points. Among them are Slotsburg, Ramapo, Ulster, Malden, Guilderland, Pattersonville, Oneida, Warners, Port Byron, Scottsville, Ontario, Angola. Take this into account when planning your route.

In the air

Airfare prices are five percent higher than last year, but the number of Americans who will fly for the holiday is still growing. About 4,7 million people are expected to take flight this holiday, up 6,6% from 2022, according to AAA.

Tuesday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 22 will be the busiest and most expensive days for air travel. Sunday, November 26 and Monday, November 27 are the most popular days to return home.

If you're flying within the US and intend to rent a car upon arrival, the good news is that domestic car rental prices have dropped by 20% compared to 2022. Bad news? The cost of renting a car abroad has increased by nine percent.

The average domestic airfare this year is $681, up five percent from 2022, and domestic hotel prices are down 12 percent to an average of $598.

Prices for international flights, as expected, will be slightly higher. The average price of an international flight actually decreased by 5,7% and amounted to about $1. But prices for foreign hotels increased by five percent and amounted to about $231.

Alternative travel options

Cruises, buses and trains are increasingly popular this year as passengers become more comfortable using public transport. About 2023 million Americans will take a bus, train or boat in 1,55, up 11% from 2022, according to AAA.

These modes of transport are cheaper in the US, with domestic cruise prices down 12% to an average of $1. International cruises, by contrast, will cost about $507, up 2% from 902.

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