Just weeks after the busiest Thanksgiving travel season in history, the hectic Christmas travel season is nearly upon us. And guess what? This Christmas travel season is expected to be the busiest ever!
According to AAA, 115.6 million Americans will travel between this Saturday, December 21, and Wednesday, January 1, which is 4.3 million (3.9%) more than during the same period last year. And “more than 104 million of those holiday travelers will drive to their destinations.” Roads in the U.S. are going to be extra congested over the next two weeks, but perhaps not as bad as you might think. NRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts “only marginal delays throughout the holiday week.”
But that doesn’t mean drivers shouldn’t prepare accordingly. For starters, some days will be much worse for drivers than others. Via AAA, INRIX expects “delays to be the worst on Thursday, Dec. 26, with afternoon delays reaching nearly double congestion-free drive times in major U.S. cities.” Traffic projections also vary by city, which is why INRIX additionally outlined the worst days to drive this Christmas in 10 American cities. These days, plus the worst two-hour window to drive on each day, are below.
The worst days to drive this Christmas travel season
For each city, INRIX listed the date and times that it expects traffic to be worst, plus (in parentheses) how many times worse the delays will be than average.
- Atlanta: Thursday, December 26, 4:30-6:30pm (1.3x)
- Boston: Friday, December 27, 4:00-6:00pm (1.5x)
- Chicago: Thursday, December 26, 4:45-6:45pm (1.3x)
- Detroit: Thursday, December 26, 4:30-6:30pm (1.4x)
- Houston: Friday, December 27, 4:30-6:30pm (1.8x)
- Los Angeles: Thursday, December 26, 4:25-6:25pm (1.6x)
- New York: Thursday, December 26, 4:15-6:15pm (2.7x)
- San Francisco: Thursday, December 26, 4:00-6:00pm (2.0x)
- Seattle: Friday, December 27, 4:15-6:15pm (1.2x)
- Washington, D.C.: Thursday, December 26, 4:00-6:00pm (3.0x)
Want even more travel tips? Sign up here for the Daily Travel Tip newsletter! Enter your email address and check “Daily Travel Tip” to receive Johnny’s best tips in your inbox each day!
If you already subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you can sign up on the same page. Just fill in your email and check “Daily Travel Tip” on the same page. You’ll receive an email with a link to update your JohnnyJet.com preferences. On that page, just click the Daily Travel Tip box and Update Profile.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.