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Thanksgiving Travel Will Be Even Busier This Year, AAA Says

43.6 million travelers expected over the holiday weekend, the fourth consecutive increase.

Thanksgiving is less than 24 hours away and the countdown is on for the most congested roads and crowded airports of the year.

According to an AAA press release, 43.6 million Americans will travel 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. 

Highlights from this year’s 2012 AAA Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast include:

  • Ninety percent of travelers or 39.1 million to travel by automobile, an increase of 0.6 percent
  • Holiday air travel to decline to 3.14 million travelers from 3.2 million in 2011
  • 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
  • Despite mild improvements in unemployment, the housing market and greater consumer optimism, the economy is still struggling to keep its head above water

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

For more information on Thanksgiving travel, visit the AAA website.

*Editor's Note: Information courtesy of AAA.

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