AAA: Most Americans since 2005 hitting roads this Thanksgiving

Marco Green
November 20, 2017

This year, about 51 million Americans will take planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transit 50 miles or more to their holiday destinations, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. That would be a 3.3 percent increase from previous year. It almost matches the nationwide jump of those leaving home for the holiday.

"If you are able to travel before Thanksgiving Day because it's proven to be the busiest day of the weekend to travel, so if you can get away early that would definitely be an option you want to consider", said Marcia Dionne, AAA Travel Agent.

"When consumer confidence is high more people are willing to travel even if it means taking on debt", said Matthew Conde, a AAA Idaho spokesman in a press release.

The report noted that travellers, going by plane, will pay the lowest average round-trip ticket price in five years for the top 40 domestic routes, but the daily auto rental is 34 percent higher than last year's figure and the highest Thanksgiving weekend rate since 2013.

AAA defines the Thanksgiving holiday travel period as Wednesday, Nov. 22, to Sunday, Nov. 26.

Air travel is expected to see the biggest year-over-year increase, at 5 percent, with about 4 million travelers expected to pass through US airports over the holiday period, according to AAA. Prices were at $2.56 a gallon on Wednesday, about 10 percent above a year ago, AAA said. Travelers should plan for extra time on the Thruway, especially on Wednesday and Sunday as the most travelers head out and return home.

Meanwhile air travelers are getting a break for the holiday.

Auto travel is expected to jump by 3.2 percent from last Thanksgiving and air travel by five percent. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond Rated hotels has decreased five percent with an average nightly cost of $117. At $157, on average, that is a 23 percent fare drop year-over-year.

Gas prices jumped more than 10 percent after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, peaking on September 8 at an average of $2.67 a gallon. The average price increased by 14 percent to $176/night.

Many travelers will seek theme-park and warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving.

AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.

Topping the list of most congested routes through cities are Interstate 5 through southeast Los Angeles and Interstate 495 E in NY.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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