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What travelers should expect over a holiday weekend

Some of you may be traveling this holiday weekend. KIRO Radio traffic reporter Tracy Taylor talked to Inrix and AAA about what you can expect.

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Bob Pishue of Inrix said they expect air travel to drop by almost half this Thanksgiving weekend.

As for the roads, traffic volumes have increased. Tracy said they’re certainly not what they were in pre-Covid times, but there is an uptick of drivers on the roads.

Tracy suspects the numbers will drop again during this latest lockdown, mostly targeting the hospitality industry.

“We just started seeing traffic come back, especially during that evening commute,” Pishue said. “The morning was closer to free-flow speeds than it was previously. This will likely impact what we will see in the afternoon.”

Pishue said that off-peak travel has increased, and weekend travel has also grown to near pre-COVID volumes.  That could mean that your congested areas, such as near the Tacoma Dome or on mountain passes, might be pretty busy during holiday travel days.

Kelly Just with AAA told Tracy they predict 50 million people will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s down from 55 million last year. Just said that 10% drop is pretty consistent with what they’ve observed since the pandemic began.

“It’s the largest one-year decreases seen since 2008 and the Great Recession,” Just said. “That data was collected before this latest surge in COVID-19 and before the CDC warned against travel over Thanksgiving.”

Just expects volumes will dip even more than 10%.

She said road trips are more popular than air travel, which has dropped in volume by almost half. Cruises have dropped about 76%. Road trips, on the other hand, have dipped about 4%. It’s likely due to the feeling of control that you might have behind the wheel. That and there are fewer people to distance yourself from.

“Deciding to travel is a very personal decision — you’re going to do it for whatever reasons you feel comfortable, if you feel safe and you want to travel, we just want to help get you there as safely as possible,” Just said.

She added that even if you’re taking a road trip, pack extra hand sanitizer and your mask. Also, make sure you’re aware of any travel restrictions in other states. You may have to quarantine for 14 days, so have a plan.




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