48 Million Americans Will Travel This Thanksgiving, Las Vegas Is Top Destination

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While most Americans who travel more than 50 miles from home to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this year will drive, about 3.7 million of the 48.7 million U.S. travelers AAA expects for the holiday period will fly to their destinations.

We’ve already taken a look at the number of drivers who will hit U.S. highways this year, but we also wanted to review what holiday period air travelers can expect, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.

This year’s holiday traveler can expect to pay about 21% more for round-trip airfare. According to AAA, the average ticket price this year is $205 on the top 40 domestic routes.

Hotel rooms rated Three Diamonds by AAA will cost an average of $155 per night, flat compared with last year. Two Diamond-rated rooms will go for an average of $123 per night, up 4% year over year. Daily rental car rates average $52, down 13% from Thanksgiving 2015.

Here’s a list of AAA’s top 10 holiday period travel destinations:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. San Diego, California
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. New York City, New York
  6. New Orleans, Louisiana
  7. Anaheim, California
  8. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. Seattle, Washington

Interestingly, at least half the cities on that list are popular tourism destinations for the rest of the year as well: Las Vegas, Orlando, New Orleans, Anaheim (Disneyland) and Fort Lauderdale.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.