This November, thanksgiving travel will be at its highest in nearly a decade. AAA projects that 48.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their home.
This is an increase of one million travelers compared to 2015, and the most Thanksgiving travel since 2007. The travel period for 2016 is between Wednesday, November 23 and Sunday, November 27. AAA attributes this travel increase to an improved economy in the last six months, including rising wages, increased consumer spending and more overall consumer confidence.
“One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving,” AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said. “Most will travel on the tried and true holiday road trip, thanks to gas prices that are holding at close to $2 per gallon. Others will fly, take the bus or set off on a cruise to celebrate with their loved ones.”
As of November 15, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.16, which is 11 cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving last year. Most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008, when the national average was $1.85.
In total, 43.5 million Americans will drive during Thanksgiving, an increase of 1.9 percent over last year. Air travel will increase 1.6 percent, with 3.69 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase only slightly this Thanksgiving, to 1.44 million travelers.
To avoid traffic, drivers should stay out of major cities during peak times. Leave in the morning because the roads will be less crowded. If you can, travel on Thanksgiving itself for less congestion and fewer crowds. Daily car rental rates will average at about $52, which is 13 percent lower than last year.
AAA also expects to rescue 37,000 motorists this Thanksgiving due to dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. Please check the condition of your vehicle before heading out for the holiday. Preventative maintenance now can save you from getting stranded on the side of the road later.
Check up on your car at one of these AAA-approved Auto Repair Facilities. Plus, save 10 percent on car service and parts with an AAA membership. Also, Android and iPhone users can download AAA’s mobile app, which provides AAA services for all drivers, such as mapping and gas price comparison, as well as member-exclusive benefits including roadside assistance and discounts.
As for plane travel, airfares are projected to increase 21 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $205 for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. Airports will get busy and airport security lines may be longer than usual. Travelers should plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours early in order to make their flights.
Staying in a hotel for the holiday? Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels are expected to remain flat at an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel is $123, an increase of 4 percent.
Are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Where are you going? How are you getting there? Let us know in the comments.