AAA Predicts Heavy Thanksgiving Travel
November 21, 2012

by Casey Neeley,

In a new report, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts increased travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

According to figures released by the association, AAA officials anticipate an increase of 0.7 percent from 43.3 million travelers in 2011 to 43.6 million travelers in 2012. Of those 43.6 million, 39.1 million travelers, or 90 percent, will likely travel by automobile. This figure is up 0.6 percent from last year's 38.9 million automobile travelers.

"Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low in 2008 when only 37.8 million Americans traveled," says AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet in a statement. "Since that year we have seen a steady increase in the number of travelers taking to the roads and skies for the holiday."

Though the report projects an increase in drivers, it also shows a decline in the overall number of miles driven roundtrip. In 2011, automobile travelers logged an average of 706 miles roundtrip. This year AAA predicts, based on the ever-increasing cost of gas and the consumer need to reduce expenditures, drivers will only travel a roundtrip distance of 588 miles, a decrease of 16.7 percent from last year. The Pacific region is projected to have the highest number of average roundtrip miles driven at 887 miles on average.

Air travel, which will account for 7.2 percent of this year's travel, is down from 7.4 percent in 2011. Other forms of travel, including buses and trains, are estimated to increase by 10 percent to account for 2.9 percent of travelers, up from 2.7 percent in 2011.

AAA bases its forecast on economic and consumer reports. Holiday travel figures are projected for Wednesday, November 21 through Sunday, November 25.

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