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Virginians Hit the Road for Thanksgiving in Record Numbers

Travel times could be three times longer as drivers head out for the holiday

Fall Leaves

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (November 20, 2017) – AAA Tidewater projects over 1.4  million Virginians will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.2 percent increase over last year. In fact, 2017 will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2007.


“This Thanksgiving weekend more Virginians will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

Number of Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers in

Virginia by Mode of Transportation


















Virginia’s 2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast Highlights

  • Road trip ready: 90.5 percent of all travelers are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
  • Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel will be air travel with a 4.5 percent increase expected.
  • Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) are expected to increase slightly by 0.5 percent.
  • Fueling up: Drivers will pay the highest gas prices over the Thanksgiving holiday since 2014.


Travelers hitting the road despite higher gas prices.
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers to pay more for gas this Thanksgiving, the highest prices since 2014, the majority of holiday travelers are still planning to hit the road to visit family and friends.

Gas Prices as of November 19, 2017




Last Week


Last Month


Last Year











Hampton Roads








Travelers Be Aware and Advised: Traffic Hotspots and Best and Worst Times to Hit the Road

Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, AAA expects drivers to experience the greatest congestion during the late afternoon drive time, between 3:00 to 6:30 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week - as daily commuters mix with holiday travelers heading out.  Best time to travel tends to be mid-day between morning and evening commuter drive times.


Lockouts, flat tires to strand 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA Tidewater expects to rescue more than 2,500 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop like a AAA Car Care Centers, or a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility across the area. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.


Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway.
Before setting out for the long Thanksgiving weekend, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at


As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at or Facebook at

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Tidewater Automobile Association of Virginia, Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).