Thanksgiving travel to grow, despite higher gas prices

AAA: More than 1.6 million Michiganders will celebrate Thanksgiving with holiday getaway

If the forecast proves accurate, it would be the biggest air travel year in Florida since 2007, when 220,000 Floridians took to the skies.

Nationally, AAA predicts that 50.9 million Americans will take a trip at least 50 miles away from home during next week's holiday, a 3.3 percent increase from 2016 and the highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since 2005.

"Although it will be more expensive to drive to Grandma's house compared to recent years, the current price at the pump is not high enough to deter Floridians from taking a trip".

If you're traveling to your Thanksgiving dinner, you could see a lot more people on the road than previous year. Today, the average is $2.58, but AAA expects the price will still be lower than what drivers were paying earlier this month.

Almost 90 percent of travelers plan to go by personal vehicle. "Most people have already made their travel plans, and will not cancel them for moderate shifts in gas prices".

A year ago heading into Thanksgiving weekend, Wisconsin averaged $2.03 for a gallon of gas.

Image courtesy of AAA
Image courtesy of AAA

Holiday high: auto rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day, which may be due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.

But those savings could be lost to higher hotel rates. Americans on average are paying $2.56 at the pump, and Virginians have seen an average increase of 30 cent across the state from a year ago.

And vehicle rentals are averaging $70 per day, 34 percent above previous year and the highest rate for a Thanksgiving weekend since 2013.

And there's even more bad news for motorists heading south, AAA ranked the stretch of Interstate 95 through Fredericksburg as the region's top traffic hotspot for the Thanksgiving week.

"Thanksgiving kicks off the start of what will likely become the busiest holiday season in more than a decade", said Vicky Evans, AAA's Assistant Vice President of Travel Sales Development.

"Recovery from the hurricanes is well underway, and the economy is experiencing robust growth that is supported by solid momentum for employment, real disposable income and household asset values", the club said.

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