TRAVEL GUIDE: Thanksgiving travel to exceed pre-pandemic levels in SC, experts say

Holiday Travel graphic.
Holiday Travel graphic.(John Murphy / CC BY-SA 2.0 U.S. Census Bureau / CC BY-SA 2.0 Michael Holzworth / DoD / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 12:04 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 3:07 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – More South Carolinians are expected to hit the road or fly to their Thanksgiving destinations than they did before the pandemic hit, according to AAA Carolinas.

“Travel is still roaring back from the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, particularly during the holidays. AAA expects busy roads and long lines at the airport, so leave early and be flexible with your travel plans.”


The travel agency predicts 850,000 South Carolinians will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday, which is 98,000 more than in 2021 and over 100,000 more than in 2019.

RELATED COVERAGE | Thanksgiving might bring changes in holiday-travel habits

AAA Carolinas expects 89% of holiday travelers to drive to their Thanksgiving destinations. In South Carolina, the agency believes 739,000 people will hit the road, which is 24,000 more than last year.

If you plan to take a road trip for Thanksgiving, here are the best and worst times to travel:

  • Wednesday:
    • Worst travel time: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Best travel time: Before 8 a.m., After 8 p.m.
  • Thursday:
    • Worst travel time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m. – After 6 p.m.
  • Friday:
    • Worst travel time: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m., After 8 p.m.
  • Saturday:
    • Worst travel time: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Best travel time: Before 2 p.m., After 8 p.m.
  • Sunday:
    • Worst travel time: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m., After 8 p.m.

Along with congestion on the roads, Thanksgiving travelers could hit some long lines at the airport too.

Air travel is up 8% from last year, with 4.5 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations, according to AAA Carolinas.

Myrtle Beach International Airport said it’s expecting heavy traffic throughout the weekend.


Over the past several months, the airport has dealt with parking lots filling up. The airport advises holiday travelers to allow for extra time due to parking. It said if the parking lots reach capacity, signs will point drivers to the overflow parking options.

MYR is also advising people to get to the airport at least two hours before their flight leaves.

AAA Carolinas also warned flyers that it’s not uncommon for flight delays and cancellations during this time of year due to winter weather, staffing challenges and strong demand.