AAA expects Thanksgiving travel to increase for the fourth consecutive year. The travel agency predicts 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday period.
If the agency's prediction holds true, that would be an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. The holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 25.
Ninety percent, or 39.1 million, will travel by auto. Air travel is expected to decrease by nearly two percent with 3.1 million flying to reach their destination. Another 1.3 million will choose other modes of transportation including rail, bus and cruise ship.
Hotel rates are relatively flat compared to last year’s holiday, but car rental rates are up 27 percent. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $47, compared to $37 reported last year. Since many families rent larger vehicles for long distance drive vacations, AAA says book as early as possible for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods. For the holiday period, the national average price of gasoline is expected to range from $3.25-3.40 a gallon. Since early October, fuel prices have declined nearly 40 cents a gallon.