Best, worst travel times per day over Thanksgiving holiday

Posted at 11:18 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 11:18:51-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - AAA predicts that over 50 million people will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, which would bring travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

That prediction is a 13% increase from the previous year, 2020, and would be the highest single-year increase since 2005.

Air travel has managed to recover as well with an 8% increase over the last year.

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Holly Dalby, AAA Tidewater director of public affairs. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”

Related: US lifts pandemic ban on nonessential travel, opens doors to visitors

AAA gave News 3 a guide to when to get on and to avoid the roads with the 2021 Hampton Roads Thanksgiving Forecast Chart and Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel Chart.

2021 Hampton Roads Thanksgiving Forecast Chart

Road Name/Destination

Worst Day

Worst Time

Increase Over Normal

I-64 Hampton EB




I-64 Hampton WB




Best Times to Travel Chart

Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel


Worst Time

Best Time


12:00 - 8:00PM

After 9:00PM


12:00 - 3:00PM

Before 11:00AM


1:00 - 4:00PM

Before 11:00AM


2:00 - 7:00PM

Before 12:00PM


1:00 - 7:00PM

Before 12:00PM

Source: INRI

When traveling AAA recommends that travelers be proactive, be patient, be prepared, and be protected.

  • Be Proactive
    • Secure travel accommodations as early as possible. Prices are only going to go up and are still influenced by the pandemic, as well as, staffing challenges.
  • Be Patient
    • Plan ahead when preparing to travel. AAA suggests you arrive 2 hours before departure time and get on the road when there is less traffic to allow for extra travel time.
  • Be Prepared
    • AAA expects to respond to over 400,000 calls for help over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so make sure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the trip you’re about to take.
  • Be Protected
    • AAA highly recommends travel insurance in the incident of unexpected delays or trip interruptions. Everything will be busier during the Thanksgiving season, “safe travel = smart travel."