Thanksgiving travel expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, bringing COVID-19 risks

Air travel was picking up Saturday for the Thanksgiving holiday at the Los Angeles International Airport, and officials were working to make sure the skies and airports stay safe.

AAA predicts that more than 53 million Americans will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday — a rise in 13 percent from last year, bringing travel volume to near pre-pandemic levels.

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, stated in a news release. “Travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”

Meanwhile, 90% of travelers are expected to hit the roadway this holiday season, despite the gas prices inching up more than $1 a gallon since last year, according to AAA.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips and this year will be no different even during the pandemic,” Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst with INRIX, stated in a news release. “Drivers around major metros must be prepared for significant delays, especially Wednesday afternoon.”

Meanwhile, officials are urging travelers to stay safe and protect their loved ones by following guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency has released its recommendations for holiday gatherings and related travel, saying that the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk is to get vaccinated if eligible.

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