TRAVEL GUIDE: What you need to know before traveling for Thanksgiving

VIDEO: Thanksgiving Travel Forecast for Grand Strand, Pee Dee
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 12:48 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:31 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Millions of holiday travelers across the Carolinas will be hitting the road or taking to the sky to visit loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA predicts 53.4 million Americans will travel, which is up 13% from 2020. It also brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels for the 2019 holiday.

In South Carolina, AAA expects 753,000 South Carolinians will travel for Thanksgiving, a 13% rebound from the total number of travelers during the 2020 holiday.

Meanwhile, the travel agency predicts nearly 1.5 North Carolinians will travel for Turkey Day, which again is a 13% rebound from the 2020 holiday.

“It’s beginning to look more like a normal holiday travel season, compared to what we saw last year,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Now that U.S. borders are open, vaccinations are readily available, and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holidays.”


Despite more people flying this year, AAA found that the average lowest airfare is 27.3% less than last year.

Tuesday and Wednesday are the most expensive and heaviest travel days across the country, while Monday and Thursday and the lightest and least expensive during the holiday week.

MORE INFORMATION | TSA Security Wait Times, Flight Tracker at MYR

At the Myrtle Beach International Airport, there are 34,450 scheduled departing seats, which is an increase of 65% during the same period in 2020. According to MYR, Monday, Wednesday and Sunday are showing to be the busiest travel days with the most number of scheduled seats.


With millions of people hitting the roads, AAA warns drivers to be patient and allow for extra time.

MORE INFORMATION | Traffic and Road Conditions in South Carolina

The agency listed out the worst and best times to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday:


  • Worst time: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Best time: After 9 p.m.


  • Worst time: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Best time: Before 11 a.m.


  • Worst time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Best time: Before 11 a.m.


  • Worst time: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Best time: Before 12 p.m.


  • Worst time: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Best time: Before 12 p.m.

AAA adds that you should make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the trip. It expects to respond to over 400,000 calls for help over the Thanksgiving weekend. The most common calls are for dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.


Gas prices across the country saw a surge in October, and those high prices are expected to continue through the holiday season, according to AAA.

MORE INFORMATION | Gas Buddy Gas Price Map

As of Monday, the average price for gas in South Carolina is $3.10. To put it into perspective the average price for a gallon of gas during Thanksgiving in 2020 was $1.87.

In North Carolina, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.20. Last year during Thanksgiving, the average price was $1.94 per gallon.

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