104 Million People Expected to Drive During 2023 Travel Season

Dec. 21, 2023

A near-record number of travelers expect to travel 50 miles or more during the final 10 days of 2023. With 115.2 million travelers, the number is the second highest year-end travel forecast since 2000, when the American Automobile Association (AAA) began tracking holiday travel.

And, with a 2.2% increase over 2022 travel levels, holiday travelers in 2023 are coming close to rightsizing the pace of travel since the pandemic. AAA says the busiest year-end holiday travel season ever recorded was in 2019, when 119 million people made trips.

And these numbers should result in good business for tire dealers and other automotive service providers, as AAA expects nearly 104 million people will drive to their holiday destinations — which amounts to a 1.8% increase compared to 2022.

AAA says this is the second-largest group of drivers on record, lagging behind only the record-setting year of 2019, when 108 million drivers hit the road.

AAA notes that this year's holiday drivers should expect to spend about the same amount — or even less — for fuel than they did in 2022. (The national average fuel price on Christmas Day in 2022 was $3.10, and $3.20 on New Year's Day.)

INRIX, a compiler of transportation data, says Dec. 23 and Dec. 28 will be the most congested days on American roadways, while traffic on Dec. 30 is expected to be higher than a typical Saturday as some travelers head home after Christmas celebrations, and others travel in anticipation of New Year's Eve.