AAA predicts less travel, lower costs for holiday season
by Rachel Davis
Nov 23, 2013 | 939 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This holiday season AAA estimates there will be 43.4 million Americans who travel more than 50 miles for their Thanksgiving celebration between Nov. 27 and Dec. 1. This is a slight decrease from last year, when they estimate 44 million people traveled for the holiday.

Of those traveling, AAA estimates that approximately 38.9 million (90 percent) will travel by car, with a median travel cost of $465.

“While the economy continues to improve, the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers and, therefore, AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year,” said AAA Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram.

Ingram also said the largest single travel day is Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when most travelers leave home headed to their destination, because return trips are often staggered across a number of different days.

AAA asked prospective travelers which days they would be most likely to travel. Among those surveyed, 33 percent said they would return home on Sunday after the holiday, while 24 percent will return home on Dec. 2 or later.

“The primary focus of Thanksgiving, more so than any other holiday, is to gather with friends, family and loved ones and celebrate with each other. Travelers attempting to carve out a travel budget will be happy to know that Thanksgiving will be the least expensive holiday of the year,” continued Ingram.

This year, travelers also get another savings, according to Ingram. Even though gas prices have increased over the last few days, they remain at the lowest holiday rates for Thanksgiving since 2010.

He said he expects prices to continue to stay low and possibly even drop throughout the holiday season.

A free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance.