Donna Pashley grabbed her bag from the Atlantic City International Airport conveyor and rolled it out the door toward a cab.
She had traveled from Mount Dora, Florida, to see her family in Egg Harbor Township. She was visiting them for Thanksgiving and then going on a vacation after the holidays.
She said she saw many families in the airport who were traveling up from Florida to see their families in South Jersey.
“It’s really crazy, but I think it’s awesome that families stick together, and everybody looks forward to it. You can feel the hype in the airport: it’s crazy but it’s fun,” Pashley said.
And expenses to see family during the holidays?
“I don’t even think about it,” she said.
Angela and Scott Royal had traveled from Brooksville, Florida, and were making their third trip to see family in South Jersey.
“My sister lives up here, and we try to alternate so she comes down or I come up here,” Angela Royal said.
Whether you’re heading down the street to your brother’s or traveling across the country to your parents’ home, it seems that all of America heads somewhere for Thanksgiving.
And we’re traveling more than in recent years, both nationally and in New Jersey.
An estimated 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over the four-day weekend, the most since 2005, according to AAA’s annual forecast.
In New Jersey, AAA projects more than 1.3 million people will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up 3.5 percent from 2016 and the largest projected number of travelers since 2007.
For both New Jersey and across the country, the Thanksgiving weekend is expected to be the busiest for the holiday in 10 years.
“A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes, driving up the confidence in consumers who are more willing to spend on travel this year,” Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a release.
The forecast also said drivers nationally will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014. Still, about 45 million will hit the roads for Thanksgiving, with more than 1 million traveling by car in New Jersey.
There is also expected to be a slight increase in trains, bus and cruise travel (1 percent). New Jersey will see about 30,621 travelers use such modes, the 0.2 percent increase a bit smaller than across the country.
Lisa Torbic, senior public information officer for New Jersey Transit, said holiday public transportation travel tends not to be about volume of customers as much as the travel times.
“On the workday before a major holiday, NJ Transit customers may shift their travel pattern to the early afternoon, when employers may let workers out early. So the appearance is that there is a higher volume riding the system, but customers have simply adjusted their travel patterns and are traveling earlier than usual,” she said.
There will be about a 5.4 percent increase from those who traveled by air last year in New Jersey, with 110,624 planning to fly.
Mark Amorosi, communications manager for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, said Atlantic City International Airport projects an 11 percent increase in seat capacity for the Thanksgiving travel week compared to the same week last year. The increase is the result of the airline using larger planes, but the airport does anticipate an increase in air travelers this year.
For its Wednesday weather, South Jersey should expect a showery morning to give way to plenty of sunshine, according to Press meteorologist Joe Martucci. Rain showers will ride up the Atlantic Coast and clip southeast New Jersey starting during the pre-dawn hours Wednesday. No flooding issues are expected, and it should not be enough to cause airline delays. Showers will end sometime during the late morning, with sunshine showing up in the afternoon. High temperatures will be seasonable, in the mid-50s.