Travel Time: When to leave if you’re driving this Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly 55 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving. That includes 3 million Floridians. Here are some tips for traveling this weekend.

Nearly 55 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving. That includes 3 million Floridians. That’s the most people since 2005.

AAA expects a lot of travelers will start their journeys this weekend, and nine out of 10 travelers are expected to drive, despite high gas prices.

In Florida, AAA predicts 28,000 more people will travel compared to last Thanksgiving.

The average price of gas in the state Tuesday is $3.54 per gallon. It is expected to set a holiday high next week.

The most expensive Thanksgiving on record, was in 2013, at $3.46 a gallon.

If you are hitting the road, leave early, AAA advises. Traffic will be its heaviest from Monday through Wednesday.

The worst times to drive will be in the afternoon and early evening. The best time to be on the road is before 11 in the morning.

With extra cars and trucks on the highways, AAA is reminding drivers to share the road. This includes moving over anytime you see flashing lights -- or stopped cars.

If you can’t move over a lane, slow down.

AAA also expects to tow nearly half a million stranded drivers this Thanksgiving.

The most common problems are dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.

Drivers should always check over their cars before leaving on a trip. That includes looking at the tires and fluids.

Navigate flight problems

Of the Floridians expected to travel for the holidays, more than 200,000 people will fly.

The most popular destination this year based on hotel bookings is Orlando. Anaheim, California, where Disneyland is located, came in second place.

And Las Vegas rounded out the top three most popular destinations.

Airfare costs are up more than 22% from last year.

The lowest round trip costs $166. That’s about $30 more than last year.

Because of strong demand, staffing challenges and winter weather, flights will likely be delayed and even canceled.

Experts recommend checking in early online.

You can also monitor your flight status using your air carrier’s mobile app.

It’s also a good idea to arrive two to three hours before your scheduled departure, and pack medications and an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag, just in case your flight is delayed or canceled.

For those who have not booked their flight yet, book one that leaves early in the day.

Those in the afternoon or evening are more likely to get delayed or canceled.

You can also book a direct flight or book extra time between connections.

And consider traveling on Thanksgiving Day. This could offer the best availability and space.

About the Author:

Amanda DeVoe joined the News4JAX team in March 2022 as a morning news and traffic anchor