AAA Forecasts Robust Holiday Travel

Higher prices for hotel rooms, rental cars and airfares will not keep families home this Thanksgiving. AAA estimates 38.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 2.7 percent increase from last year's 37.3 million travelers.

Approximately 31.7 million travelers expect to go by motor vehicle, a 2.6 percent increase from those who drove a year ago.

Another 4.8 million Americans will travel by airplane, up 3.2 percent from last year. AAA projects 1.9 million travelers will go by train, bus or other mode of transportation, up slightly from 1.8 million a year ago.

All travelers will find higher prices throughout the country for airfares, hotels and car rentals, according to AAA's Leisure Travel Index.

Holiday hotel rates are up 16 percent for AAA-Rated Three Diamond hotels, as strong demand allows hoteliers to increase rates that they raised last Thanksgiving as well. With an average 4 percent increase from last year, airfares will be more costly, but travelers won't see the extreme price hikes they will experience with hotels and rental cars.

Many travelers, 69.5 percent, will opt to save money and stay with a friend or relative for Thanksgiving. Hotel and motel stays will house 16 percent of Thanksgiving travelers. Small towns and rural areas are the expected destination for 45.3 percent of Thanksgiving travelers, followed by cities at 35 percent.

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