More than 3 million New Yorkers – the most since Thanksgiving of 2007 – are planning to hit the road for the holiday, according to AAA’s annual travel survey.
“That’s total travel – all modes,” said Eric Stigberg, manager of AAA Northway in Schenectady. “Of those, 2.7 million are automobile travelers, so 80 percent or more are going to travel by automobile.”
AAA’s has conducted its annual Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast for more than 20 years.
According to this year’s survey, a total of 3,034,123 New Yorkers are planning to travel more than 50 miles from home this week for Thanksgiving. That’s up by about 1.3 percent from the 2,994,458 New York residents who traveled last year.
Stigberg said the increase in New York is more subtle than it is nationwide, as 48.7 million total Americans are planning to travel 50 miles or more from home this week. That number is up by 1 million travelers, or 1.9 percent, from 2015, according to AAA.
Gas prices are up slightly from a year ago, Stigberg said, but motorists have had a forgiving year in that regard, so pump prices aren’t likely holding them back.
“In New York State a year ago, the average prices were about $2.33; they’re about $2.37 now,” he said. “Air fares are up pretty significantly from a year ago, which also may be driving some of the increase in auto travel, but hotel rates and car rental rates are pretty flat from a year ago.”
The state is doing its part to ease travelers’ travails this week, with the announcement Monday that temporary lane closures associated with road and bridge construction projects will not be allowed from Wednesday morning to Monday morning.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to ease congestion and inconvenience to drivers during this holiday weekend,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a prepared statement announcing the suspension of lane closures.
According to the state Thruway Authority, the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are two of the busiest days on the Thruway system, with the heaviest travel periods between noon and 8 p.m. on those days.
Albany International Airport’s Transportation Security Administration officials are expecting to see a record number of travelers this week, according to a prepared statement.
Airport officials encouraged air travelers to brush up on their airport checkpoint safety rules by visiting tsa.gov and checking out their travel tips.
The tips include a list of foods you can carry through a checkpoint, including pumpkin or apple pie, turkey, ham, brisket and cooked stuffing. Anything that is a liquid or gel – including gravy, cranberry sauce, salad dressings or cooked mashed or sweet potatoes – is not allowed, however.
Reach Gazette content editor Scott Donnelly at 395-3131, [email protected] or @SDdailygazette on Twitter.