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The Week in Travel Stats: What to Expect From Thanksgiving Travel

November 20, 2015 By: Adam Leposa

Thanksgiving is next week, and once again the travel period is poised to hit pre-recession levels. We've rounded up the latest research forecasting what to expect. 

Thanksgiving Travel to Hit Highest Level Since 2007

According to the latest forecast from AAA Travel, 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, a 0.6 percent increase over the 46.6 million people who traveled last year and the most since 2007.


With 300,000 additional holiday travelers, this marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.

Despite improvements in the economy, including steady wage growth, rising disposable income and a falling unemployment rate, consumers remain cautious about their finances. However, gas prices remain well below 2014 levels, good for the more than 89 percent of holiday travelers who will drive to their destinations.

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Florida, California Top Thanksgiving and Christmas Destinations

With so many travelers hitting the road, where will they all be headed? Warm-weather destinations will be most popular this Thanksgiving and through Christmas, according to a new data analysis from The Priceline Group, which recently looked at thousands of sold airline tickets for the upcoming holidays.


The number one out-of-state destination this Thanksgiving and Christmas is Florida, with California coming in as a close second. Travelers on the East Coast are heading south, and Midwest states are heading further west. Additionally, warm weather states are heading for colder weather and cold weather states are heading for warmer weather, such as Floridians flying to New York.  

For the analysis, Thanksgiving travel is defined as departing between November 20 and 27, and Christmas travel as departing between December 19 and 31. 

Source: Priceline

42 Percent of Millennials Stay in Hotel on Staycation

Even for travelers staying close to home -- always a popular pick for the Millennial market -- many will still be spending money on a hotel, according to MMGY Global's 2015 Portrait of American Travelers.


According to the report, Millennials took nearly as many staycations as vacations during the past 12 months. Most notably, compared to Xers or Boomers, Millennial travelers are significantly more likely to stay in a hotel, resort or bed & breakfast during a staycation. 

When asked why they chose to staycation, Millennials were significantly more motivated by the chance to save money than either Boomers or Matures. Around one quarter were saving their travel budget for another vacation, had no money budgeted for vacation, or were saving for a non-travel purchase. Other leading motivations cited by Millennials included just wanting to relax in one place or visiting locally with friends and family. 

Source: MMGY Global

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About the Author

Adam Leposa
Adam Leposa is the Online Managing Editor of He has worked as an Editorial Associate in the Children's Division of Simon & Schuster. He is a graduate of...

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By Adam Leposa | November 20, 2015
Next week's Thanksgiving holiday travel period looks to be the biggest since 2007, according to the latest research from around the travel industry. Here's a look at the latest stats.