Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents and others across the state should be prepared for a busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

More than 1.7 million Michiganders are expected to be traveling over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. AAA Michigan says travel demand has been strong all year and that trend will continue with one of the busiest Thanksgivings on record.

Nationally, over 55 million people will be traveling travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving – marking the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

With more people taking to the roads, skies, rails, and sea; travelers should expect congested roads and longer lines at transportation terminals. AAA encourages travelers to develop their plans now, leave early, and be courteous to others.

Most Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destinations.

AAA says Thanksgiving road trips should be less costly at the gas pump this year. Despite global tensions causing ripples through the oil market, strong domestic gasoline supplies are causing pump prices to drop.

The day before Thanksgiving is notoriously one of the most congested days on roadways, so travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros.

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, expects next Wednesday, November 22nd, to be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, with average travel times as high as 80% longer than normal in some metro areas. INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6pm to avoid the heaviest holiday congestion.

Additionally, AAA expects to rescue over 360,000 stranded motorists nationwide over Thanksgiving weekend. The three most common reasons expected for service calls are flat tires, dead batteries, and lockouts. The Auto Club Group urges travelers to have their vehicle inspected before leaving home, in an effort to prevent roadside issues before they happen.

AAA Michigan Spokeswoman Adrienne Woodland told WHMI “Don’t let car trouble be the reason you don’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner. Before setting out for your holiday road trip, ensure your tires, battery and brakes are all in proper working condition; and don’t forget to pack an emergency kit for added peace of mind”.

Meanwhile, AAA expects nearly 178,000 Michiganders to fly for Thanksgiving. That’s 14,000 (8.5%) more than 2022, and the highest air travel volume forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. Nationwide, air travel is up nearly 6.6% from last year.

AAA says Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are typically the busiest air travel days ahead of the holiday and the most expensive. While Sunday is typically the busiest day to return home, AAA data shows Monday is also a popular day to fly back after Thanksgiving.