AAA estimates holiday travel could be third busiest in more than two decades

Posted at 11:20 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 05:00:39-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — People on the go for Thanksgiving are starting to pack up and head out of town. It could be the third busiest turkey day for travel in over 20 years.

AAA predicts more than 1.7 million Michiganders are going 50 miles or more for the holiday. According to AAA, that’s 34,000 more than last year.

Nationally, they report almost 90% of holiday travelers will drive.

"We just went to Ohio to pick up the kids for Thanksgiving," Robert Ouwinga said.

Ouwinga and his family are headed back to Detroit.

"I feel happy about this trip because I haven't seen my dad in a long time," said Zamir, Ouwinga's son.

This is the first time since the school year started that the six of them have been together.

"With five kids, is it easier to travel by car?" 7 Action News asked Ouwinga.

"Yeah, most definitely. It's cheaper," Ouwinga said.

Making the trek to Thanksgiving dinner is about money for some and for others, it's "germs," like Annette Kendall said.

She said her fear of flying started during the pandemic. Kendall made a game-time decision to go visit her daughter in Canada. The total drive time is 14 hours.

Kendall says she has priorities when she arrives.

"I am going to hug my babies and cook a turkey," she said.

Even though gas prices are high, it did not deter Kendall from making the trip by car.

Tom Zech is in the home stretch of his journey from Knoxville, Tennessee to St, Clair Shores. He says there's a very important reason he travels by car.

"Because when I get there, I can drive around and I have my own transportation," Zech said.

Whatever the reason is, Michiganders often prefer to travel by car. Some take their dogs and others have an army of kids to keep them company.

"It's probably a fun road trip, though," we asked Ouwinga.

"Yeah, I got a headache, but it is alright," Ouwinga responded.

Wednesday will be the busiest travel day. The worst times to drive are between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.