Holiday travel period begins today

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More than 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA.

The increase is around 3.3 percent from last year as the holiday travel period lasts from today, Wed., Nov. 22 to Sun., Nov. 26.

“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 Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama spokesperson. “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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Below are some figures for this year’s travel forecast.

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 2015.

Holiday high: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles

Despite higher gas prices, travelers are still going to hit the road for the holiday, according to an AAA release.

Automobile travel will grow by 3.2 percent this Thanksgiving, with 45.5 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. Despite recent declines in the national average price for gasoline, the residual impact of recent months’ hurricanes linger. Today’s national average price is $2.56, which is 32 cents more than last year, while the state average is $2.27, which is 29 cents higher than last year.