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Thanksgiving travel to increase for fourth consecutive year, says AAA

BY: Community Papers of WNY Staff | November 15, 2012

BUFFALO - AAA projects 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of .7 percent more than the 43.3 million people who traveled last year.

This increase marks the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent.

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 until Sunday, Nov. 25.

AAA’s Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast says that 90 percent of travelers or 39.1 million will travel by automobile, which is an increase of .6 percent.

The expected primary activity for 75 percent of travelers will be visiting with friends and relatives, followed by dining and shopping.

“Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low in 2008 when only 37.8 million Americans traveled,” said Tony Spada, president and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. “Since that year, we have seen a steady increase in the number of travelers taking to the roads and skies for the holiday.

Americans continue to find ways to economize their budgets so they can gather with family for the holidays.”

“While we do not yet know the full impact that Superstorm Sandy will have on travel from the Mid-Atlantic region, we do know that the impact for Americans in that region is substantial,” continued Spada.

Wednesday before the holiday is expected to be the busiest travel day. Among those surveyed, the majority of travelers plan to leave the Wednesday before and return on the following Sunday.

Automobile travel remains the dominant mode of transportation.

Approximately 90 percent of travelers plan to travel by automobile.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Thanksgiving holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to decrease one percent from a year ago.

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