Nearly 4 million Texans expected to travel this year for Thanksgiving holiday, AAA reports

While the predicted travel volume in Texas is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, it’s close to what it was in 2019. That includes travel by car, plane, bus, train, and cruise ship.


Rick Bowmer / Associated Press
Air travel for Texans is expected to be up 77% from last year over the holiday weekend.

Nearly 4 million Texans are expected to travel this year for the Thanksgiving holiday. Daniel Armbruster, a spokesperson for AAA Texas, said that will be a significant 12% increase in travel volume from last year.

"For this Thanksgiving between Wednesday and Sunday, AAA Texas is predicting that we will see more than 3.9 million Texans traveling 50 miles or more for leisure over the holiday," said Armbruster. "3.6 million, or 92%, will actually be going by car."

The next popular mode of travel is by air. Over the next several days about 230,000 Texans will fly. Armbruster said that's a 77% increase in air travel over last year.

"And then when we look at buses, trains, and cruises, we're looking at 50,000 people from Texas who will be traveling that mode of transportation," he added. "That's a 258% increase over last year, and of course a big part of that are cruises returning to the port and sailing."

Carnival Cruise Line launched the first cruise ship from a U.S. port in over a year when it set sail from the Port of Galveston in July. Cruises were halted in March 2020 because of the pandemic.

Overall, Armbruster said things are now beginning to look up for the travel industry in Texas, with Thanksgiving travel volume expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels. He said the numbers should be close to the near record 4.1 million Texans who travelled around the same time in 2019.

"So, we won't quite be back to pre-pandemic levels, but it's very close," said Armbruster. "We've seen travel really explode since mid-summer. Of course, the delta variant was a little bit of a setback to the travel industry. But now that we're getting back to normal mode somewhat and case numbers are going down, we're really seeing travel bookings increase dramatically, even not just for Thanksgiving but going into Christmas and 2022 as well."