Thanksgiving holiday travel is more of a cruel chore than a pleasure. The prospect of seeing family and friends might be nice, but the grueling schlep home can often be pure drudgery.
This year might be the bleakest of all, because 48.7 million people are projected to travel across the United States between Wednesday and Sunday, November 27, according to AAA. If that number sounds outrageous, it’s because it is. According to AAA’s forecast, this year’s Thanksgiving travel will reach its highest point in the last decade, and that’s not accounting for the outrageous fees you might have spent on airfare.
But even if you did cough up $500 to fly across the country to argue with your uncle, you’re probably on the luckier side of the equation. The real bottleneck will appear on American roadways, as AAA writes in its report: “In total, 43.5 million Americans will drive during Thanksgiving, an increase of 1.9 percent over last year.”
To put that in perspective, the entire population of California is 38.8 million. So imagine everyone in the state packing up a Hyundai and hitting the road, and you’d still have nearly 5 million people hauling their families all over the country.