FARGO, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving.

This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a 2.9-percent increase.

“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”

The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much at four times longer than normal in major metros.

Gas prices have been fluctuating as of late, but are near the averages seen the past two years. In North Dakota, the statewide average currently stands at $2.55, compared to $2.60 on Thanksgiving Day last year and $2.52 in 2017.

During their travels, more than 368,000 motorists are expected to call AAA for assistance at the roadside this Thanksgiving holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.