This Could Be Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Season in More Than a Decade
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This Could Be Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Season in More Than a Decade

AAA projects that nearly 51 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving – a 3.3-percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.

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AAA projects that nearly 51 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving – a 3.3-percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.

The projected numbers include travel by road, air, rail and water.

AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict that travel times in the most congested U.S. cities during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.

“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, travel and publishing. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”

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The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22, to Sunday, Nov. 26.

Here are a few fun facts from AAA and INRIX:

  • Road-trip ready – 89 percent of all travelers – 45.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
  • Cheaper airfare – Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
  • Fuller skies – The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
  • Alternate travel – Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
  • Fueling up – Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014.
  • Holiday high – Car-rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70 a day, which may be due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.

While AAA expects that most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, the vast majority of holiday travelers (89.3 percent) still are planning to hit the road.

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Automobile travel will grow by 3.2 percent this Thanksgiving, with 45.5 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. This November’s national average price is $2.54, which is 37 cents more than last November (Nov. 1-14).

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