AAA reports that 43.4 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million people who traveled last year. This decrease falls just shy of last Thanksgiving’s four-year peak since the recession-driven declines in 2008-2009 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent, AAA says. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.
Highlights from the AAA Travel Forecast include:
• Thanksgiving travelers to total 43.4 million, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million who traveled last year
• Ninety percent of travelers or 38.9 million to travel by automobile, a decline of 1.6 percent
• Median spending expected to drop nearly seven percent to $465, compared to $498 last year.
• The Thanksgiving holiday is a less expensive holiday for travelers compared to other holidays. This year Labor Day spending was expected to be $804,
Independence Day $749 and Memorial Day $659.
• Holiday air travel to decline 3.7 percent to 3.14 million travelers from 3.26 million in 2012
• Average distance traveled to increase to 601 miles from 588 miles.
• The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest single day of travel with 37 percent of travelers departing for trips Nov. 27.
“While the economy continues to improve, the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers and therefore AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “For those traveling the good news is motorists will receive a holiday bonus in the form of lower gas prices which are at their lowest levels for the holiday since 2010.”
“The primary focus of Thanksgiving, more so than any other holiday, is to gather with friends, family and loved ones and celebrate with each other. Travelers attempting to carve out a travel budget will be happy to know that Thanksgiving will be the least expensive holiday of the year,” said Doney.