Thanksgiving weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years.

AAA Chicago projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year, with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.

According to a new report from AAA Chicago:

In Illinois, nearly 2.8 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 4.8 percent increase from 2017. Of those travelers, nearly 2.5 million will be driving (up 4.7 percent from 2017) and 233,000 will be flying to their destination (a 6.3 percent increase from 2017). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.74, down just slightly from $2.80 last month and from $2.77 a year ago.

In Indiana, 1.2 million people are expected to travel, which is up 4.6 percent from 2017. Of those travelers, 1.1 million are expected to travel by auto (4.6 percent increase) and about 101,000 by air (6.2 percent increase). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $2.59 per gallon, down significantly from $2.93 a month ago and down slightly up from $2.70 this time last year. The average price nationally for gas is $2.75.

By the numbers:

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 48.5 million – will hit the road this Thanksgiving, nearly 5 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air, at 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 1.4 percent, with a total 1.48 million passengers.

If you're part of the traveling group this Thanksgiving weekend, AAA says the worst time to travel around the Chicago area will be Wednesday, November 21st, between 2:30pm-4:30pm.

The worst time to try to get from downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport will also be on that Wednesday from 1:30pm-3:30pm when getting to the airport will take you approximately 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Let's be careful out there.