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AAA Chicago: Thanksgiving travel to increase for fourth consecutive year
Number of travelers from both Illinois and Indiana on the rise as well
By: PR Newswire
Nov. 13, 2012 10:43 AM
AURORA, Ill., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AAA projects 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent over 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 to Sunday, Nov. 25.
The total number of Illinois travelers will be 2.3 million, a 0.6 percent increase from 2011, with 2.08 million traveling by auto (up 0.6 percent from 2011) and 170,000 traveling by air (a 1.8 percent decrease from 2011). In Indiana, there will be 958,000 total travelers this year, a 0.6 percent increase from 2011, with 860,000 traveling by auto (a 0.6 percent increase) and 70,000 traveling by air (a 1.7 percent decrease). Gas prices are little lower than 2011 as travelers take to the roads this weekend. In Illinois the average cost of an unleaded gallon of gasoline is $3.49 and in Indiana the cost is $3.42.
National highlights from the 2012 AAA Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast include:
"Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low in 2008 when only 37.8 million Americans traveled," said AAA Chicago Regional President Brad Roeber. "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 around the holiday table to carve the turkey."
"While we do not yet know the full impact that Hurricane Sandy will have on travel from the Mid-Atlantic region, we do know that the impact for many Americans in that region is substantial," continued Roeber.
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
Wednesday before the holiday is expected to be busiest travel day
Automobile travel remains dominant mode of transportation, air travel decreases
Those traveling by air will find lower airfares according to AAA's Leisure travel Index. For the Thanksgiving holiday the average lowest round-trip rate is $188 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, an 11 percent decrease from last year. Approximately 1.3 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.
Hotel rates relatively flat, car rental rates increase 27 percent
Average travel distance decreases
Median spending down ten percent; visiting family, dining and shopping top activities
While spending time with friends and relatives and dining are primary activities for nearly all holidays, it is even more relevant for Thanksgiving travelers. Therefore it is not surprising that spending time with family and friends (75 percent) and dining (56 percent) are the most popular activities planned by travelers. Despite lower median spending, half of all travelers (50 percent) plan to shop during the holiday which can be expected given Black Friday occurs during the holiday weekend.
AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2012 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
SOURCE AAA Chicago
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