Nov 20, 2023 - News

San Diego Thanksgiving travel tips

Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Thanksgiving travel is never fun, but this could be an especially rough year.

Driving the news: Expect congestion at San Diego International Airport due to ongoing construction at Terminal 1, and plan to arrive two hours before their flight to accommodate delays, airport spokesman Jonathan Heller said.

  • Airport volume hit a post-pandemic peak last month, with 6,000 more travelers than in October 2019.
  • On average, airport traffic is up 3% per day from a year ago, per Heller.

Be smart: Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and Sunday and Monday thereafter are expected to be the busiest travel days.

  • More specifically, airport traffic is at its busiest each day from 4-6:15am, 9:30am-noon, and 8pm-midnight, Heller said.

What they're saying: aGamble, a casino and gambling publication, released a study this week finding San Diego's airport had the 11th highest percentage of delayed and canceled flights in the country from Thanksgiving to New Year's last year.

The other side: Travelers planning to drive to their destinations shouldn't expect things to be any better, according to AAA.

  • They're expecting a record number of Southern Californians to travel for the holiday —the second year in a row.
  • 3.9 million people will be driving to their destinations (up 3% from 2019), compared to 566,000 people flying (a 10% increase from 2019).
  • San Diego is the second most common destination for Southern Californians, AAA said.

Of note: The average price of a gallon of gas this month, $5.25, is at least down 52 cents from October.


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