The American Automobile Association expects a very small increase in holiday traffic over Thanksgiving, which it defines as Wednesday to Sunday. AAA estimates 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which is an increase of 0.7% over total nationwide travelers in 2011.
The other forecasts about consumer activity for Thanksgiving are much less positive. AAA reports:
- Median spending expected to drop 10 percent to $498, compared to $554 last year. Spending remains consistent with historic averages as Americans continue to prioritize travel while finding ways to economize
- Average distance traveled to decline to 588 miles from 706 miles, due in part to a decrease in the number of air travelers and Americans desire to economize budgets
The reports cannot be based on any forecast of the weather because it was made too early. But cold and snow could be factors. There will be considerable snow across the Plains and northern Midwest, and a great deal of rain in the West and Texas. And some people hit by Hurricane Sandy will not travel at all.
Douglas A. McIntyre