More than 1.3 million New Jerseyans to travel this Thanksgiving, AAA says

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

More than 1.3 million New Jerseyans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday,  according to AAA. That’s the most in 13 years.

Eighty-nine percent of travelers in the state are expected to drive, but AAA says people on the road Thursday, Friday or Saturday are in the best position to avoid traffic in most cases.

Lodi resident Estephanie Campos stopped to get a car wash before going to her sister’s house.

“You know, the thing is a lot of people have their cars dirty and now for the holidays they want to look good, impress the family and everything, so that’s what’s going on right now,” she said.

Newark resident Angel Tutt was polishing his car before his drive to Linden. He said he has to make an entrance.

“Especially today on Thanksgiving, but you also have to get the gas, though because without the gas you ain’t going nowhere,” he said.

But it’ll cost you. U.S. drivers are expected to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, according to AAA. In the Garden State, gas prices are up eight cents compared to last year.

That might be why 2.2 percent of all New Jersey travelers opted to take the train or another form of transportation.

“Part of my family came up from North Carolia and I came up from the D.C. area,” said Pravi Wickramasuriya, who was waiting in Newark Penn Station. The other part of his family flew in from London.

Family reunions were also happening at Newark Airport.

“Mom, dad, grandma, brother, puppies, everyone,” said Kaleb Heltke from Wall Twp.

Maeve Jeantel was waiting for her sister who was flying in from Atlanta.

“My sister got delayed, she got to the airport, the airport was packed,” said Jeantel. “And now I don’t have to help out with the cooking. I can just arrive for dinner.”

One group also had a good game plan to get back to Louisiana.

“We were going to fly home yesterday, but it was cheaper to fly home today and stay in the room another night, so that’s what we did,” said Kim George.

AAA says 8.8 percent of all New Jerseyans are flying to get to their destination. One couple at the airport said they had just arrived from Charlotte to see family in West Orange. When asked what’s the specialty at their Thanksgiving dinner table?

“Probably my sister-in-law’s macaroni and cheese,” said Linda Green. “I would fly up for that.”