ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. -- AAA expects nearly 51 million Americans to travel this Thanksgiving--the highest number of travelers in a dozen years.
Those 50.9 million travelers are expected to journey 50 miles or more away from home during the holiday travel period of Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.
"Some of the bigger cities in the United States--so that's going to be LA, Orlando, New York--people can expect to see their travel times increase by up to three times," said Madisun VanGundy, spokesperson for AAA Minneapolis.
In some of the most congested cities, AAA expects Tuesday afternoon to be the worst for travelers.
Eighty-nine percent of travelers (45.5 million) plan to hit the roads. Meanwhile, the largest growth in holiday travel is by air, with nearly 4 million people flying. This holiday season brings the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
Drivers will pay the highest gas prices since 2014. November's national average price is $2.54, which is 37 cents more than last November.
"What surprised me is we're seeing the most expensive gas prices we've seen in a few years but that's surprisingly not stopping people from traveling," VanGundy said.
"I would believe that, just knowing that the economy has been picking up," said Karen Durant of Clearwater, Minnesota. Durant flew home Monday from Flagstaff, Arizona.
"Last year I traveled very close to Thanksgiving and it was insane. I had no idea that it was such an incredibly busy time. So I purposefully chose today to come back instead of trying to wait closer to Thanksgiving," Durant said.
According to Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesperson John Welbes, Wednesday and Sunday will be the busiest days for travel at MSP airport. Welbes said they expect 50 percent more travelers than normal going through security on those days.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are some of the airport's slowest days of the year.
VanGundy recommends arriving two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights. Welbes recommends adding an extra half hour for those who are traveling with kids or who are checking a lot of bags.