Thanksgiving Travel Forecast at 7-Year High

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With gasoline prices at a five-year low, AAA Travel predicts that 46.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles to celebrate the holiday, the highest number of travelers since 2007 and a 4.2% increase from a year ago. Most of those travelers (41.3 million) will be driving.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline today is $2.85, lower by 43 cents than last year’s price. On an average round trip of 549 miles, this year’s driver will spend about $62.60 for fuel for a car that averages 25 mpg. Gasoline for the same trip last year would have cost nearly $10 more.

AAA expects 3.55 million Americans to fly to a holiday destination this year, the largest number since 2007. Airfares are about 1% higher this year, while mid-range hotel rates are up 8% and car rentals are up 10%.

AAA estimates that Americans will spend an average of $573 this holiday weekend. Slightly more than 31% of that figure will go to pay for fuel while 22% will pay for food and drink, and shopping will account for 20%.

As AAA’s president and COO noted, “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving.” And of course, shopping, which will be another popular activity over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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