AAA projects 42.2 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, an increase of 11.4 percent compared to 2009. Approximately 1.62 million travelers will fly to their holiday destination, a 3.5 percent increase from last year. Auto travel is expected to increase by 12 percent over last year with 39.7 million Americans driving to holiday destinations. This accounts for 94 percent of all holiday travelers, the highest percentage of automobile travelers recorded in AAA’s holiday travel history.
“Travelers are eager to hit the roads to spend Thanksgiving with family and close friends,” said James R. Hanni, executive vice president, Kansas Region & Public Affairs at AAA. “Consumers can expect busy highways and airports as people make their way home during this important time of year.”
Most travelers will be filling up their gas tanks for their trip, and the current national average price for self-serve regular gasoline is $2.89 per gallon, according to AAA. Kansas’s average gas price is $2.80 per gallon, up 4 cents from one month ago. Higher gas prices are not expected to impact holiday travel.
Additional information regarding Thanksgiving Day travel trends and behavior includes:
* Airfare over the holiday is expected to increase 4 percent from last year with the lowest round-trip airfare averaging $176.
* Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond properties are also expected to increase this year, up 6 percent to an average of $136 per night compared to $128 per night last year.
* Consumers are expected to travel an average of 816 miles to their destination, virtually the same as last year’s average of 815 miles.
* On average, consumers are projected to spend an average of $495 this Thanksgiving.
AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. For purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more from home in one direction during the period from Wednesday, Nov. 24 to Sunday, Nov. 28. The complete AAA/ IHS Global Insight 2010 Thanksgiving holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.