Christmas is quickly approaching, and with it comes a spike in travel. The American Automobile Association (AAA) expects 2022 to be the third busiest year for holiday travel since 2000. 

According to AAA, about 112.7 million travelers will venture 50 miles or more from home between December 23rd to January 2nd. This is an increase of 3.6 million people since last year. 

“This holiday season will see an additional 2 million drivers compared to 2022,” says AAA. 

Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel, says, “With hybrid work schedules, we are seeing more people take long weekends to travel because they can work remotely at their destination and be more flexible with the days they depart and return.”

Related: How To Celebrate The Holidays As A Black Digital Nomad

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Increase in air travel

Air travel is expected to have a 14% increase from last year. Almost 7.2 million Americans will choose to fly this holiday season. 

“If the distance is not reasonable to drive, more people are taking to the air to maximize the time spent at their destination,” says Twidale. 

Spirit airlines

Other modes of transportation

Travelers also choose to travel this holiday season via buses, cruise ships, and rail. AAA predicts those methods of travel to increase by 23% this season from last year. 

“Conversely, if the travel distances are reasonable and more than one or two people in the household are taking the trip, it may be more cost-effective to drive rather than buy multiple air tickets, rent a car, and spend too much money before the fun even begins,” Twidale shares.

Best times to travel by car this holiday season

12/23/22 – Before 2 p.m., After 8 p.m.

12/24/22 – Before 11 a.m., After 7 p.m.

12/25/22 – Minimal traffic

12/26/22 – Before 12 p.m., After 7 p.m.

12/27/22 – Before 2 p.m., After 8 p.m. 

12/28/22 – Before 2 p.m., After 8 p.m.

12/29/22 – Before 2 p.m., After 8 p.m. 

12/30/22 – Before 2 p.m., After 8 p.m. 

12/31/22 – Minimal traffic

1/1/23 – Minimal traffic

1/3/23 – Before 3 p.m., After 8 p.m. 

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Worst times to travel by car this holiday season

12/23/22 – 4-7 p.m.

12/24/22 – 12-6 p.m. 

12/25/22 – Minimal traffic

12/26/22 – 2-6 p.m. 

12/27/22 – 3-7 p.m. 

12/28/22 – 3 -7 p.m. 

12/29/22 – 3-7 p.m. 

12/30/22 – 3-7 p.m. 

12/31/22 – Minimal traffic

1/1/23 – Minimal traffic 

1/2/23 – 4-7 p.m. 

AAA’s forecast for the holiday travel period starts on Friday, December 23rd, 2022, and ends on Monday, January 2nd, 2023. 

Related: Gift These Travel Experiences This Holiday Season