Coloradans will set a record this Thanksgiving as nearly 960,000 state residents are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home.
That number, which is a 2.9 percent increase above last year, will represent Colorado’s highest Thanksgiving travel volume ever recorded, according to AAA Colorado.
All told, 27,000 more Coloradans will take to the nation’s roads, sky, rails and waterways compared to 2018.
Most Colorado travelers — 834,000 — will drive this Thanksgiving, 2.8 percent more than last year. Nearly 62,000 state residents will fly.
In Colorado, gas prices have ticked up nearly a dime from this point last year, with a statewide average of $2.80 a gallon. In Colorado, the statewide average runs $2.73 for a gallon of regular, up 18 cents from this time last year.
But higher gas prices and the expected heavy traffic hasn’t changed people’s plans.
“Nobody likes getting stuck in traffic, especially around the holidays, but the reason that traffic is on the rise is simple,” Skyler McKinley, AAA Colorado spokesperson, said in a news release. “We’re where people want to be and the folks already here have the wages, disposable income, and sunny economic outlook to encourage them to travel.”
AAA warns there is no day worse than the Wednesday before the holiday to travel. Traffic peaks on Wednesday evening with some travel times taking four times longer than usual, the news release said.
In most cases, the best days to travel will be Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and 2019 will be no different,” McKinley said. “To skip the stress of sitting in traffic, avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”
Airports also will be crowded. Nationwide, 4.45 million are expected to fly, causing heavy traffic to airports and long lines through security inside them.
Delays to the nation’s busiest airports could be as long as an hour and a half, AAA said. Those heading to Denver International Airport should budget drive times from downtown to DIA via I-70 East of 55 minutes or more.