PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Travel over Thanksgiving this year is expected to reach just shy of pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA Northeast.

It’s expected to be the third busiest Thanksgiving travel season since 2000 with AAA predicting 54.6 million people to travel — a 1.5% increase over 2021 and 98% of pre-pandemic levels.

New England travelers will make up close to 2.5 million of those traveling, which is up 1.9% from a year ago, AAA added.

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” said Diana Gugliotta, Director of Public Affairs at AAA Northeast. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

Nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car, according to AAA, and air travel is up nearly 8% with 4.5 million Americans flying to their destinations this year.

“Airport parking spaces fill up fast, so reserve a spot ahead of time and arrive early,” Gugliotta said. “Anticipate long TSA lines. If possible, avoid checking a bag to allow for more flexibility if flights are delayed or you need to reschedule.”