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Flying or Driving, Some People Still Making It A Point to Travel Home for Thanksgiving

Travelers heading out to visit family for Thanksgiving may still hit the road Thursday morning as AAA says many are keeping a “wait and see” mentality when making a final decision about the holiday this year.

Whether they’re waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test or weighing their options of if people they’ll visit are safe, there’s still a chance the plans will change come Thursday morning.

Because of that and the global pandemic itself, Wednesday was a much lighter travel day than years past.

According to their forecast, AAA Spokesperson Megan Cooper said, “this year we found 50 million people are planning to travel nationwide. Here in Tennessee, that number was 1.2 million. That sounds like a lot but it’s actually a ten percent decrease over last year.”

AAA said it’s the largest one year drop in travel they’ve seen since the recession in 2008.

“They’re really embracing, almost waiting until the last minute to plan their trips because they’re unsure if they’ll be able to take that trip,” said Cooper.

For people who were travelling or still might, Cooper reminded that large cities will still see come congestion on the roads and recommends planning out every stop on the way. She said, “Are you stopping at restaurants? Are you staying at a hotel over night? You want to look at things like is there a mask mandate where you are travelling. Will there be restaurant limitations and restrictions? Will things be open? Even if you’ve taken a trip every single year to see family and you know the route like the back of your hand, and you have your standard stops that you stop at, things may be different this year.”

Wednesday, at BNA Airport, the virus didn’t stop people from flying.

“We feel safe. I mean everybody is wearing their mask, they recycle the air in the airplane so I think we’re OK,” said William Braaksma who was on his way to Miami.

Huston Currie hasn’t flown since the pandemic started but says he was comfortable to do so now even with the rise in cases. “We took it seriously. We haven’t taken a lot of trips. But this is Thanksgiving, we haven’t seen our daughter in a long time. So we’re taking the risk,” said Currie.

He also said even though the CDC recommended people stay home, his family has been good about following their guidance over the almost 9 months of pandemic. Currie commented, “it comes to a point where you got to live your life. So that’s what we’re doing.”

This year would have been especially good for drivers because of low gas prices. “We, nationwide are about 50 cents lower to what we were seeing last year. This week, Tennessee is the 7th least expensive market in the nation. So if you are planning on travelling this year for Thanksgiving, you are going to see those savings at the gas pump.”