Thanksgiving Travel Up This Year
If the roads seem more crowded this Thanksgiving, it's because they are. AAA Texas forecasts nearly 3.3 million Texans are traveling at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving, a 1.6% increase from last year. "Of that 3.3 million, three million will be driving, so lots of Texans on the road," says Sarah Schimmer with AAA Texas. She tells KTRH that while auto travel is up from last year, air travel is actually down slightly. "There are fewer seats available and they're at a much higher price, so people find that auto travel is really the most convenient and least expensive way to travel if you're traveling with a family."
Not only are more Texans traveling this year, they are spending more on their trips. AAA estimates the average Texan will spend $802 on their Thanksgiving trip this year. Schimmer says it's another example of Texas leading the way. "In the national picture, when it comes to the economy and travel, Texans are always very strong and very confident in their spending," she says. Schimmer also notes that Texans tend to spend more on travel because we usually go longer distances, thanks to the expansive reach of our state. But overall, increased travel is another positive sign for the Lone Star State economy. "When people spend discretionary dollars on travel, that means they are feeling a little more confident about their place in the economy," says Schimmer.
Another good sign for Texas drivers this year is the decline in gas prices. AAA has the statewide average at $3.16 a gallon, down three cents from a year ago and 25 cents below the national average. Here in Houston, the average price is $3.14 a gallon, two cents cheaper than last year. Gregg Laskoski, an analyst with HoustonGasPrices.com, says "gas prices have come down over the last month, dramatically in some states, leading motorists to feel better about things - including driving the car to get to their destinations."
Before you hit the road, check out AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator here.