AAA predicts 3.5 million North Carolinians to travel Christmas & New Years

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WITN) – AAA is predicting a record-setting amount of North Carolinians to travel 50 miles or more during the year-end holiday season.

From December 23rd to January 1st, AAA says an estimated 3.5 million people in the Tar Heel state will go to the skies or hit the pavement to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

The auto company says it expects nearly 80,000 more North Carolina travelers this year, which beats the record year 2019 by about 2.3%.

In 2019, officials said 3.4 million traveled: 3 million drove, 181,874 got on a plane, and 128,274 took other modes of transportation.

This year of the 3.5 million expected to travel, 3 million are getting on the roadways, and 191,902 are taking to the air.

Down below are travel numbers AAA reported in previous years.

Nationally, the auto group says airports are to be the busiest they’ve ever been with an estimated 7.5 million air travelers expected, which is more than last year’s count by 336,000.

On the roadways, more than 3.1 million people across the nation will drive; AAA says this tops the 2019 record by 31,000.

INRIX, a company that provided insights to AAA, says Saturday, December 23rd, Thursday, December 28th, and Saturday, December 30th will be the most congested days on the road. The data company says the best times to hit the road are before lunchtime or after 7 p.m.