View source: Donald Wood

A new study found that travelers hitting the road for the Thanksgiving holiday travel period will experience less traffic and congestion than in previous years due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to AAA Travel, there were an estimated 50 million Americans expected to travel for Thanksgiving, but a recent rise in COVID-19 cases and recommendations to stay home from health and government officials is likely to result in an even lower number of holiday travelers.

AAA Travel anticipates at least a 10 percent drop in travel, which would be the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008. Tourists are also expected to drive shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away.

“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” AAA Travel senior vice president Paula Twidale said. “The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure.”

Even with road trips being the dominant form of travel this Thanksgiving holiday period (95 percent), automobile travel is projected to fall 4.3 percent to 47.8 million Americans.

Thanksgiving air travel volume will be down by nearly 50 percent this year, as only 2.4 million travelers are expected to fly to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes, including buses, trains and cruises, is expected to decline 76 percent, to 353,000 Americans.