AAA: slight decrease in Thanksgiving travel

This year’s Thanksgiving holiday will see a 1.5 percent decrease in travel, AAA projects.  

This year, 43.4 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home over Thanksgiving, AAA projects in its recent report which is a decrease from the 44 million people who traveled last year. AAA defines the Thanksgiving holiday travel period as Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Monday, Dec. 2.

“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 Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney.

Approximately 90 percent of Thanksgiving travelers, or 38.9 million people, will be traveling by automobile, with only 7 percent traveling by air, the report said. Nationally, the average traveler will journey approximately 600 miles this year.

Gas prices generally get higher around Thanksgiving, said Chris Anderson, assistant manager at Holiday Stationstore 15 in Osseo.

National gas prices increased from $1.85 per gallon in 2008 to $3.43 per gallon last year, the report said. “I don’t think it will get that high [this year],” Anderson said.

The top activity for holiday travel this year is visiting with friends and relatives, the report said. This year, shopping comes in third for top activities for traveling, with 44 percent of respondents listing it as a top holiday travel activity, the report said.

AAA predicts 3.7 million Midwesterners will travel this Thanksgiving holiday, and approximately 3.4 million will use automobiles to reach their destination, the report said.

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