Thanksgiving travel is back to nearly pre-pandemic levels.
Local highways are congested, and the Redmond Airport parking lots are full.
Thomas Osborne arrived at San Francisco airport three hours before his flight to Redmond.
He arrived in Central Oregon ahead of schedule, collected his bag and waited a few minutes for his family who drove over from the valley to pick him up.
“The drive coming over wasn’t too bad. We came through Mt. Hood. There was some snow on the ground and a little icy, but traffic was moving along pretty decent, 45-50 mph,” said Greg Osborne, Wilsonville. “Once we got off the mountain, things were moving along 65-70 mph.”
The Osbornes were among millions of people hitting the roads and skies Wednesday for the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Gas prices are at least a dollar per gallon more expensive than last year.
The current average price for regular unleaded is $3.78 per gallon in Oregon but that’s not slowing travelers down.
“For a lot of folks, this is the first time they’ve been traveling for Thanksgiving in two years so they want to see those family and friends and loved ones and carve out some time to celebrate the holiday,” said Marie Dodds, AAA Oregon – Idaho. “With the high gas prices, that obviously packs a wallop to your family budget but people are making cutbacks in other ways.”
Dodds says this week will be a big test for the travel industry in general.
Airlines, rental car companies and hotels still don’t have all the supplies and personnel they had before the pandemic.
“You are going to have a great Thanksgiving celebration. Pack your patience. Expect that things can and will maybe not go perfectly,” she said. “I think if you have that kind of mindset it helps you to deal with the little stuff if they impact your trip.”
More than 50 million Americans are predicted to travel this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 90% of them by car.
Here in Oregon, about 700,000 residents are expected to travel at least 50 miles for a turkey dinner.