When's the best time to hit the SoCal roads during busy Thanksgiving week?

ByJaysha Patel and ABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Thanksgiving travel commute set to get underway in SoCal
Thanksgiving travelers are expected to begin hitting the road on Tuesday, jamming Southern California freeways ahead of the holiday.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- If you think travel during the week of Thanksgiving has been challenging in the past, brace yourself.

The Auto Club projects 4.5 million Southern Californians will travel for the holiday this week. That's a new record and represents an increase of 2.5% from last year.

Of those travelers, 3.9 million will hit the roads in their cars and SUVs, with about 542,000 traveling by air.

Nationwide, there should be almost 55 million people traveling, with nearly 49 million of those heading out on the roads. That nationwide figure is the third busiest on record.

Here's some Thanksgiving travel tips if you're heading out on the roads:

Best time to travel by car is to start before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

Here's some advice if you're planning to hit the road for Thanksgiving.

Expect peak travel times before 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, is expected to be the peak day for travel, hitting about 42% higher than normal.

If you're flying, expect busy airports.

Travel experts say flights are more full now than they were pre-pandemic.

The good news is you can anticipate fewer travel hiccups. Travel experts say - even in the worst of times - 97% of flights are operating.

Los Angeles International Airport officials expect an average of more than 200,000 passengers per day, and as many as 97,000 vehicles daily. Plan ahead if you're parking at the airport, as the economy lot is nearly 90% full.

The Auto Club says the top destination for Southern Californians traveling this week is Las Vegas, followed by San Diego, the Grand Canyon/Sedona, Yosemite and Mexico cruises.

For national travelers, the top destinations are Orlando, Anaheim, Las Vegas, New York and Atlanta.