For the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AAA Travel projects that 48.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of one million travelers compared with last year.
This represents a 1.9% increase over 2015 and the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday Nov. 23 to Sunday Nov. 27.
This year’s growth in Thanksgiving travel is spurred by improvements in the economy during the second half of the year, including rising wages, increased consumer spending, and overall strength in consumer confidence, according to AAA.
“One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO. “Most will travel on the tried and true holiday road trip, thanks to gas prices that are holding at close to $2 per gallon. Others will fly, take the bus or set off on a cruise to celebrate with their loved ones.”
More than 89% of holiday travelers will drive this Thanksgiving holiday. The 43.5 million Americans planning a road trip represents an increase of 1.9% over last year, according to AAA.
When it comes to gas prices, most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest Thanksgiving prices since 2008 when the national average was $1.85. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.16, 11 cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.05), according to AAA.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, weekend daily car rental rates will average $52, 13% lower than last Thanksgiving.
This year’s top 10 destinations for Thanksgiving include: Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Orlando, New York City, New Orleans, Anaheim, Calif., Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia, and Seattle.