Holiday Travel Trends Up
Thanksgiving is just a week away, and more people are planning on heading over the river and through the woods. AAA is projecting a slight uptick in Thanksgiving travel this year. "43.6 million Americans will be traveling this holiday weekend," says AAA Texas spokesman Doug Shupe. "That's an increase of just 0.7 percent from the 43.3 million people who traveled last year." The vast majority of that group will be taking to the roads. "39.1 million people will be traveling by car, up about 0.6 percent from last year," says Shupe. In fact, he notes that air travel is expected to decline slightly this year, thanks to higher air fares, rental car rates, and hotel room rates.
More people traveling may not necessarily translate into increased economic activity. "People are going to be spending about ten percent less compared to Thanksgivings in the past," says Shupe. AAA estimates the average travel budget at $498 this year, down from $544 last year. That’s due in large part to gas prices, which are expected to remain between $3.25 and $3.40 a gallon on average, about the same as last year. However, Shupe says that doesn’t mean people won’t be spending on other things. “Fifty percent of those who will be traveling are going to be shopping during this period, which is expected given that Black Friday occurs during the holiday weekend.”
Overall, the numbers are part of a larger, positive trend. “This is the fourth consecutive year that Thanksgiving travel is expected to increase,” says Shupe. That dates back to the height of the economic recession in 2008, when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25% nationwide. AAA plans to release its specific Texas holiday travel numbers on Monday.
Check out AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator here
Check out TSA's Helpful Hints for Holiday Travelers here