For this week’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AAA projects 46.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of 4.2% from the 44.4 million who traveled last year, according to the “AAA Thanksgiving 2014 Travel Forecast.”
This year is the highest projection for travel during the Thanksgiving holiday since 2007. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday Nov. 26 to Sunday Nov. 30, says the report.
"This year, more Americans will give thanks for the opportunity to travel to friends and family than any year since 2007," said Marshall L. Doney, AAA president and chief operating officer. "Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel."
According to the AAA report, more than 89% (41.3 million) people plan to travel by automobile, a 4.3% increase from 39.6 million last year. The average distance is expected to be 549 miles, and Americans are projected to spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.
When it comes to gas prices, AAA estimates that drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving price for fuel in five years. Today’s national average price for gas is $2.85 per gallon, says AAA.
"Holiday joy has come early this year with Americans likely to pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2009,” said Doney. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving."
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, weekend daily car rental rates will average $55, 10% higher than last year.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight, a Colorado-based business information provider.
For the complete “AAA/IHS Global Insight 2014 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast,” visit http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-AAA-Thanksgiving-Travel-Forecast-Report-.pdf