The best and worst times to drive in Georgia for Christmas 2021

Holiday travel plans that were canceled last year are on again. That means roads will be crowded in 2021.

Data from AAA show over 109 million people will travel 50 miles or more between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. More Georgians are traveling than in 2020 too.

This year’s numbers are just 8% under the 2019 travel season, the highest recorded.

“Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still need to be mindful of the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President, AAA – The Auto Club Group, in a press release. “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel this year.”

The top travel method is still by car. Data show 91% of people plan to travel this way, even though gas prices are $1.25 per gallon more than a year ago. Airline travel will increase by 184% from last year with over 6 million people flying. Over 3 million are booking buses, trains and cruises.

Georgia travel has rebounded 34% compared to last year. It’s predicted that over 3.4 million Georgians will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That’s almost 666,171 more residents driving compared to 2020. AAA predicts drivers in major metro areas may see more than double the delays compared to usual travel times.

Our picks this week

‘Tis the season, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is your No. 1 source for things to do, see and eat through all of the holidays.

DO: Spend your New Year’s Eve at Punch Bowl Social Atlanta

SEE: 4 etiquette tips for returning holiday gifts

EAT: Celebrate the season with a holiday ... shrub?

For our full coverage of holiday events around metro Atlanta, check out the AJC’s Atlanta Winter Guide.

AAA has a list of the best and worst times to travel each day from INRIX. Minimal congestion is expected on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day respectively, but some of the worst times to drive occur Dec. 23, Dec. 24 and Dec. 28-30. These days have six-hour windows of predicted congestion.

Worst and Best Times to Travel

Dec. 23, 2021

Worst time: noon - 6:00 p.m.

Best time: After 7 p.m.

Dec. 24, 2021

Worst time: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Best time: Before 1 p.m.

Dec. 25, 2021

Minimal congestion expected

Dec. 26, 2021

Worst time: 1 p.m. -7 p.m.

Best time: Before noon

Dec. 27, 2021

Worst time: 5 p.m.–6 p.m.

Best time: Before 1 p.m.

Dec. 28, 2021

Worst time: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Best time: Before noon

Dec. 29, 2021

Worst time: 1 p.m.-7 p.m.

Best time: Before 11 a.m.

Dec. 30, 2021

1 p.m.-7 p.m.

Best time: Before noon

Dec. 31, 2021

Worst time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Best time: Before 1 p.m., after 5 p.m.

Jan. 1, 2022

Minimal congestion expected

Jan. 2, 2022

Worst time: 2 p.m.–6 p.m.

Best time: Before 1 p.m.