Thanksgiving travel: Millions of Floridians expected to hit the roads, head to airport this week

Overall, 55 million people are expected to travel in some form.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Millions of Floridians are expected to hit the roads and head to the airport this week.

AAA predicts nearly three million people will travel for Thanksgiving, but it warns travelers to plan ahead of time — more than normal delays.

Approximately 2.7 million Florida travelers will drive to their Thanksgiving destination. That’s about 91%. Overall, 55 million people are expected to travel in some form.

Drivers are seeing a little bit of relief when it comes to gas prices, which actually fell on average about 10 cents last week. Right now, Florida drivers are paying $3.46 per gallon. That’s just 10 cents more than last year.

Gas prices could ultimately fall 20 to 30 cents per gallon. AAA said Monday that’s due to strong refinery output, which in turn, has led to a big gain in gasoline supplies.

Locally, Duval county’s average is the same as the state — about $3.45. Georgia’s gas tax is still suspended so drivers north of the state line are paying $3.11.

Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. That’s why JAX asks passengers to get to their terminal at least two hours early. Give yourself that extra time to account for any unexpected delays.

Airport officials expect more than 10,000 passengers to fly out of JAX every day during the holiday weekend.

Shantell Ortega says she spent the holiday early with her sister in Jacksonville, trying to beat these crowds.

“Surprisingly, when I left New York it was so much busier,” Ortega said.

Isiah Avilez is spending the holiday in Colorado with his parents, and his 8-month old daughter halo. He said it was a bet less expensive to go ahead and fly out.

Having said that, travelers said they’ve noticed the higher fares. Avilez says his ticket was several hundred dollars more this year compared to years past.

“I won’t be able to go home for the holidays around Christmas ‘cause of how expensive it is, but I’m taking advantage of this opportunity right now,” he said.

About the Authors:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.