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AAA: Tennesseans will Travel in Near – Record Numbers for Christmas, New Year’s

American Automobile Association projects 2.7 million Tennesseans will travel 50 miles or more during the upcoming year-end holiday travel period*, spanning from December 23rd to January 1st. This year’s total number of travelers is a 3% increase over last year and the second highest year-end travel forecast volume since 2000 when AAA began tracking holiday travel. 2019 remains the busiest Christmas and New Year’s travel period on record in Tennessee, with 2.8 million travelers.

2023 (forecast)2.7 million2.5 million74,668107,569
20222.6 million2.4 million71,23898,170
20212.5 million2.4 million60,93280,389
20192.8 million2.6 million73,94997,493

AAA expects road travel to be the second highest on record. More than 2.5 million Tennesseans will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 64,900 compared to 2022. As 2023 comes to a close, drivers can expect to pay about the same or less for a gallon of gas than they did last holiday season, when the Tennessee average on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day was $2.73 and $2.88, respectively.

Airports are expected to be the busiest they’ve ever been throughout the Christmas and New Year’s travel period. Nationally, AAA projects 7.5 million air travelers. That’s 200,000 more than the previous record set in 2019.

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Meanwhile, over 74,000 Tennesseans are forecast to take a commercial flight. While that is 3,400 more than last year, it’s the third highest air travel volume on record, behind 2002 (97,859) and 2001 (83,380).

“AAA recommends booking flights as early as possible to ensure the best combination of price and availability,” Haas said. “Those waiting until the last minute could catch a discount but may have fewer options in terms of non-stop flights and seat availability. Whenever you book, it’s important to consider travel insurance.”

“Seemingly every year around this time we hear about winter weather that causes widespread cancellations or delays,” Haas continued. “That’s another reason why we encourage travelers to get travel insurance, which offers protection for covered expenses associated with flight cancellations, lost luggage, and on flights with delays of as little as three hours.”

National Travel Figures

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  • 115.2 million Total Travelers
    • 2nd highest on record (2019)
    • 2.5 million more than last year
  • 103.6 million Auto Travelers
    • 2nd highest on record (2019)
    • 1.8 million more than last year
  • 7.5 million Air Travelers
    • Record high
    • 336,000 more than last year

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