AAA: 47 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving

Blessed by the lowest gas prices for Thanksgiving since 2008, an estimated 47 million Americans nationwide will make their annual pilgrimage to Grandma’s this holiday.

In its annual holiday travel survey, AAA projects a scant .6 of a percent increase in the number of people traveling between Nov. 25 and 29.

The slight increase marks the 7th consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel as the most Americans carve out time to visit family and friends since 2007.

44Thanksgiving-travel-graphSo look for busy roadways and crowded airports on Wednesday. Of the overall 47 million travelers,

• 89.3% or 42 million will travel by auto, a .7 of a percent increase;

• 7.7% or 3.6 million will travel by air, a very slight .1 of a percent increase; and

• 3% or 1.3 million will take some other mode of transportation including rail, bus or cruise ship, a 1.4% decrease compared to last year.

There’s a cornucopia of reasons why travel has increased this year, according to the Travel experts: cheaper gas prices, more spending money and employment growth are all contributing to the increase.

Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $265 million on gasoline daily compared to a year ago.

Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.15, 66 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.80).

In Connecticut, average prices are much higher, but they too are dropping. As of today, the average price of gas in The Nutmeg State is $2.28, 90 cents lower than this time last year. ($3.20)

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers this holiday will also see:

• A 10% drop in airfares;

• An 8% increase in car rentals; and

• Relatively flat rates for AAA Three Diamond hotels.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.

AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 61 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York providing more than 5.2 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

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