This Year’s Holiday Travel Hot Spots

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I-5 Traffic | I-5 Exit Guide

Based on historical and recent travel trends, the American Automobile Association and INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, expects drivers to experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week – starting on Wednesday, December 19 – as commuters and holiday travelers mix on our nation’s busiest roadways. Drivers in Atlanta, New York City, Boston and Houston will see travel times more than three times a normal trip.

“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metro areas – with Thursday, December 20 being the nation’s worst day to travel,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Our advice is to avoid traveling during peak commuting hours. If schedules allow, leave bright and early, or after the morning commute.”

Here are this year’s holiday traffic hot spots:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
    • Worst Day to Travel: Saturday, December 22
    • Worst Time to Travel: 3:00 – 4:00 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 4X
  • New York, New York
    • Worst Day to Travel: Thursday, December 20
    • Worst Time to Travel: 9:30 – 10:30 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 3.75X
  • Boston, Massachusetts
    • Worst Day to Travel: Wednesday, December 19
    • Worst Time to Travel: 3:30 – 4:30 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 3.5X
  • Houston, Texas
    • Worst Day to Travel: Wednesday, December 19
    • Worst Time to Travel: 12:15 – 1:15 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 3.25X
  • Detroit, Michigan
    • Worst Day to Travel: Monday, December 24
    • Worst Time to Travel: 2:00 – 3:00 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 3X
  • Seattle, Washington
    • Worst Day to Travel: Wednesday, December 19
    • Worst Time to Travel: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 2.25X
  • Chicago, Illinois
    • Worst Day to Travel: Monday, December 24
    • Worst Time to Travel: 1:30 – 2:30 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 2.25X
  • Los Angeles, California
    • Worst Day to Travel: Thursday, December 20
    • Worst Time to Travel: 2:30 – 3:30 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 2X
  • San Francisco, California
    • Worst Day to Travel: Friday, December 21
    • Worst Time to Travel: 4:15 – 5:15 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 1.25X
  • Washington, DC
    • Worst Day to Travel: Thursday, December 20
    • Worst Time to Travel: 1:15 – 2:15 PM
    • Delay Multiplier: 2.75X

Source: INRIX

Falling Gas Prices Motivating More Holiday Travelers to Drive
While gas has been relatively expensive throughout this year, a recent drop to the cheapest national gas price averages of the year, combined with rising disposable income, is motivating more Americans to hit the road this holiday season. Gas prices averaged $2.46 for the first week of December, which is two cents per gallon less than one year ago.


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