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AAA: More Than 54 Million Traveling This Thanksgiving

Honolulu Among Top 10 Destinations; AAA Hawaii Plans More Than 1,200 Roadside Rescues

baggage claim sign in airport

As the islands prepare for an extra influx of tourists over the holiday, AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.


The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25, and a holiday trip is defined as a journey that is 50 miles or more away from home.


By the Numbers: 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast


  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 48.5 million – will hit the road this Thanksgiving, nearly 5 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air, at 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 1.4 percent, with a total 1.48 million passengers.


“Even with an average five percent increase in Thanksgiving holiday airfares over last year, consumer confidence has continued to increase demand for air-travel destinations,” said Liane Sumida, AAA Hawaii general manager.


Top 10 Thanksgiving Destinations

Many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks and warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. According to AAA’s online and travel agency air and tour bookings, the top 10 destinations for Americans this holiday are:


  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Anaheim, California
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Cancun, Mexico
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Miami, Florida


Higher Gas Prices This Holiday

Hawaii residents are paying about $3.90 a gallon for fuel on average – about the same level as during Thanksgiving season in 2014, which is the last time prices were this high. On the mainland, motorists are also paying the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years. However, as with higher airfares, consumers are not letting the higher cost deter them from taking holiday trips.


AAA Hawaii recommends that drivers download the free AAA Mobile app to shop virtually for the lowest gas prices along their route. The app also allows users to map a route, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, and find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. Learn more at


Safety Tips

No matter when drivers leave for their holiday trips, AAA Hawaii is reminding drivers: Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. “An increase in traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday requires extra focus on the road ahead and we want drivers to remember texting while driving could lead to the same deadly consequences as alcohol-impaired driving,” Sumida said.


AAA Hawaii to Rescue More Than 1,200 Motorists

AAA Hawaii expects to rescue more than 1,200 motorists at the roadside over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. 

For more detailed information and graphics related to the Thanksgiving travel forecast, visit

For video interview of AAA Hawaii spokesperson Doug Shupe discussing the Thanksgiving travel forecast, visit and use password Thanksgiving2018. 


Media Contacts

Marie Montgomery
Public Affairs
CST 1016202-80 Copyright © AAA Hawai'i, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Hawai'i is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the state of Hawai'i.