Thanksgiving will be on the lighter side when it comes to the typical number of travelers on the roads and at airports. According to a press release from AAA Northeast, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and high unemployment, are impacting Americans’ decisions to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

With health and government officials stressing that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick, AAA is anticipating at least a 10% drop in travel this Thanksgiving, in what would be the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.

In Massachusetts, the decline in travelers reflects the national number: AAA Northeast projects a 9.7% decrease from 2019 in the number of people leaving home for Thanksgiving.

Based on mid-October forecast models, AAA would have expected up to 50 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving – a drop from 55 million in 2019. However, as the holiday approaches and Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel health notices, the actual number of holiday travelers is expected to be even lower.

The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday… The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure. ~ Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for AAA Northeast


AAA says that for Americans who make the personal decision to travel for the holiday, it is important to know the risks involved and ways to keep yourself and others safe. In addition to CDC guidance, travelers should also be aware of local and state travel restrictions, including testing requirements and quarantine orders.

Here are a few things that AAA says to keep in mind if you decide to hit the open road or take to the skies:

AAA Northeast
AAA Northeast
WBEC AM logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

UP NEXT: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

More From WBEC AM