P&N BLOG | 2023 Holiday Travel Season – What You Need to Know
As the festive season approaches, millions of Americans are eagerly preparing to embark on holiday travels, whether by hitting the open road or taking to the skies. With expectations of record-breaking numbers and bustling airports, it’s crucial to be well-informed before packing your bags. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the busiest holiday travel season.
Air Travel Projections
The skies are set to be busier than ever this holiday season, with AAA predicting a staggering 7.5 million people taking flight from Saturday, Dec. 23 to Monday, Jan. 1. This projection would surpass the previous record of 7.3 million fliers set during the 2019 holiday season.
Peak Travel Days and Pricing
According to Hopper, Thursday, Dec. 21, and Friday, Dec. 22 are expected to be the busiest days for departures. If you’re looking to snag a deal, consider flying on Dec. 19, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day when airfares are averaging $349 round trip—a modest 3% increase from the previous year. Conversely, the most expensive days to fly are forecasted to be Dec. 22 and Dec. 26.
Major Airlines’ Anticipations
United Airlines is bracing itself for its busiest-ever holiday travel season, with approximately 9 million passengers set to fly from Dec. 21 to Jan. 8—an impressive 12% jump from the previous year. United’s peak days for Christmas travel are expected to be Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, while Jan. 2 is anticipated to be the busiest day for New Year’s travel.
Delta Air Lines is also gearing up for a substantial holiday travel period, projecting nearly 9 million customers from Dec. 21 to Jan. 7. Delta’s peak days fall between Dec. 21-22 and Dec. 26-30.
Road Travel Projections
For those opting to hit the road, AAA forecasts that 104 million people will embark on holiday road trips—an increase of 1.8% from the previous year. The busiest days on the road are expected to be Saturday, Dec. 23; Thursday, Dec. 28; and Saturday, Dec. 30, according to transportation analytics company INRIX.
Travel Timing Tips
If you’re planning to leave for the holidays on Dec. 23, INRIX suggests hitting the road before 10 a.m. for a smoother journey. On the flip side, if you’re heading home the day after Christmas, the roads are likely to be emptiest before noon, according to INRIX.
As the holiday travel season unfolds, being armed with the right information can make all the difference in ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable journey. Whether you’re soaring through the clouds or cruising along the highways, plan ahead, stay informed, and make the most of this festive season with your loved ones. Safe travels!