Travel numbers inch closer to pre-pandemic levels

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Triple A Mid-Atlantic Thanksgiving travel forecast estimates more than 265,000 residents from the Mountain State will travel more than 50 miles this weekend. According to Lori Weaver-Hawkins, Manager, Triple A Public & Government Affairs, the number is still about 98-percent of pre-pandemic Thanksgiving travel volume in 2019.

“Almost 265,000 to 266,000 West Virginians are expected to travel this Thanksgiving week,” Weaver-Hawkins said. “On a national level, we’re expecting nearly 54 million people to travel.”

The official Thanksgiving holiday travel period is recognized as Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27.

“If you’re traveling late in the week try to leave early Wednesday morning,” Weaver-Hawkins said. ” That’s your best bet to try to avoid that traffic congestion.”

High fuel prices don’t seem to discourage holiday travel, according to Weaver-Hawkins. The data shows gas prices are 25 to 30-cents higher than last year.

“Forty-nine million Americans will be taking to the roadways,” Weaver-Hawkins said. “About 90-percent or so nationwide are going to chose their personal vehicle for travel and that’s also what we’re expecting here in West Virginia.”

Tucked into those travel numbers are the estimated 17,000 state residents that will fly to their holiday destination. Weaver-Hawkins said plan on congestion around airports and build extra time in your travel schedule.

“This Thanksgiving in West Virginia we expect just under 7-percent will take to the air and that’s about a 7-percent increase from what we had last year,” Weaver-Hawkins said.

Weaver-Hawkins said be sure and put as much thought and planning into the return trip. She said in addition to other motorists you should also be prepared for extra police patrols.

“When you’re coming back Friday, Saturday and Sunday try to avoid the late afternoon to evening, that 4 to 8 p.m. hours, those are going to be the real busy times,” Weaver-Hawkins said. ” It always pays to get on the road early and that’s certainly going to be the case this Thanksgiving.”