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Spend smart, stay safe this Thanksgiving travel season

More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season, with a trip of 50 miles, or more, away from home this Thanksgiving. This will be the secondhighest Thanksgiving travel volume since tracking began in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.

Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a 2.9 percent increase. The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 27, to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much at four times longer than normal in major metros.

In Wisconsin, more than 1.1million people will travel for the holiday weekend, which is a 2.9 percent increase from 2018. Of those travelers, more than 1 million will drive (up 2.7 percent from 2018) and 97,000 will fly to their destination (a 5.4 percent increase from 2018).

Gas prices across Wisconsin, are on average $2.38, down from $2.47 last month, and down from $2.58 a year ago. The average price nationally for gas is $2.61.

Meanwhile, more than 368,000 motorists will call for roadside assistance this Thanksgiving holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons for car trouble.

Therefore, it’s recommended motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance, before heading out on a road trip. Also, remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside.

To help save travelers money, a recent analysis of flight booking data from the last three years, revealed that flying the Monday before the Thanksgiving travel rush, is the best option for travelers. It has the lowest average ticket price prior to the holiday and is a lighter travel day than later in the week.

Travelers can also save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the week’s lowest average price per ticket. Holiday road trippers should also budget more for a rental car this year, which have reached their highest prices on record for the Thanksgiving holiday (since 1999).

Travelers will also pay a bit more at hotels, where prices are more than last year.

As consumers make travel plans for 2020, they are reminded about another consideration: as of Oct. 1, 2020, they will likely need to present a different form of identification to board a domestic flight. Beginning in October 2020, the accepted forms of identification for boarding domestic flights or for entering most federal facilities, will be a current passport, passport card, military ID, or REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license.