Thanksgiving 2023 travel sees more taking Amtrak, gas and other prices down

Air travel not the only way to get around this holiday week

Eric Horng Image
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Wednesday, Sunday expected to be worst Thanksgiving travel days
Thanksgiving travel this year is seeing more taking Amtrak, as gas and other prices are down. AAA warned Chicago drivers to avoid I-94, if possible.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The holiday travel rush continued Tuesday, as the American Automobile Association estimates over 2.8 million people in Illinois will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving, the second-highest forecast on record.

In Chicago, Taylor Turick was gassing up and getting out, eager to skip town.

"I'm happy that I'm leaving today, and especially tonight. Hopefully there's no traffic going home, but yeah, tomorrow will probably be pretty crazy," Turick said.

Whether at airports, or on roads, Wednesday and Sunday are expected to be the busiest days for travel.

All area expressways will be jammed, especially between 2 and 6 p.m. Wednesday.

AAA flagged the Edens Expressway, or Interstate-94, northbound to Milwaukee, as especially congested.

"We really recommend that you get up and you pack your car and you get on the road. It's going to be busy," AAA spokeswoman Molly Hart said.

SEE ALSO: Thanksgiving travelers prepare for 'new COVID threat.' It's called HV.1

And prices at the pump are down from last year.

In Chicago, the average price of regular gas this week is $3.53 a gallon, compared to $4.08 last Thanksgiving. It's a savings of $0.55.

And some suburban stations are near $3 a gallon.

"In fact, four stations in the metro area are below that already, depending on where you are. Calumet, Lansing, Buffalo Grove stations all below $3," said Patrick De Haan, with

More people are also taking Amtrak, which reports a 15% increase over pre-pandemic Thanksgiving travel.

"A lot of folks have already made their choice and bought tickets, so a lot of our trains are sold out already across our system, but there's still seats out there, so people just need to be flexible," Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said.

"I'm glad I made the decision today. I don't want to be caught with a bunch of other people trying to get back last minute," Amtrak rider Brady Tooley said.

In addition to lower gas prices, AAA said rental cars and hotel rooms are also cheaper this Thanksgiving.