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Best and worst times to hit the road this holiday season

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Posted at 11:34 PM, Dec 22, 2021

Want to avoid Christmas traffic? It's better to get on the road earlier than later.

AAA says more than 109 million Americans will travel for the holidays, an almost 34% increase from 2020. Those Americans will travel 50 miles or more through some form of transportation between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

According to Inrix, the best and worst times for traffic between that timeframe are:

  • Dec 23: Best time is after 7 p.m., worst time is between noon and 6 p.m.
  • Dec. 24: Best time is before 1 p.m., worst time is between 2 and 6 p.m.
  • Dec 25: Minimal congestion expected
  • Dec. 26: Best time is before noon, worst time is between 1 and 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 27: Best time is before 1 p.m., worst time is between 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Dec. 28: Best time is before noon, worst time is between 1 and 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 29: Best time is before 11 a.m., worst time is between 1 and 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 30: Best time is before noon, worst time is between 1 and 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 31: Best time is before 1 p.m. or after 5 p.m., worst time is between 2 and 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 1: Minimal congestion expected
  • Jan. 2: Best time is before 1 p.m., worst time is between 2 and 6 p.m.

As for air travel, Thursday kicks off what is expected to be the single busiest day of the season at airports across the country. AAA expects airlines to see a 184% increase in travelers from last year. TSA anticipates 30 million people will travel by plane through Jan. 3.

More than 100,000 travelers are passing through airports nationwide every single hour ahead of the final Christmas push.

The White House says that if you're fully vaccinated and taking precautions, like wearing a mask, you should be able to travel for Christmas and New Years.