Record Number of Travelers Predicted for Roads, Rails, Airports, AAA Says

Holiday travel
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Expect record-breaking crowds this holiday season on the nation’s roads, rails and runways, as about one-third of Americans will be on the move.

AAA, which provides automotive, travel and financial services, forecasts that 112.5 million people will travel over the holidays, a 4.4% increase over 2017 and the most since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2001. In Illinois, 5.8 million people will be traveling, with 5.3 million on the roads.

Low gas prices and a buoyant economy are contributing to the travel trend, according to AAA.

“Strong economic growth fueled by robust consumer spending continues to drive strong demand for seasonal travel,”spokeswoman Beth Mosher said.

Inrix, which tracks traffic data, predicts that drivers will see the most congestion in the days before Christmas, as commuters and holiday travelers mix on the roads.

At the airports, Dec. 22, Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 will be the busiest days, while Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will see lighter traffic, AAA said.

People traveling on rail, buses and cruise ships also will see bigger crowds, with travel across these sectors up by 4%, AAA said.

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