Thanksgiving travel to grow, despite higher gas prices

Posted November 17, 2017

"Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year", said Sandra Marsian, AAA vice president of membership, travel and marketing, in a press release.

Although gas prices are the highest since Thanksgiving 2014, AAA's expecting a record number of Americans to hit the road starting next Tuesday. In the past 15 years, the lowest estimated figure was 39 million in 2009.

Some 45.5 million United States road-trippers will set off to grandma's house and other destinations during the Thanksgiving holiday, the highest volume seen nationwide since 2005.

Gas prices jumped more than 10 percent after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, peaking on September 8 at an average of $2.67 a gallon. In Palm Beach County, the average price for regular was $2.62, up from $2.30 a year ago.

Most travellers - about 90 per cent, or 45.5 million people - will be on the road; a 3.2 per cent increase in automobile traffic over last year's holiday, according to the pre-holiday analysis.That's despite a higher national average for petrol prices over last year. "This should set the table for small discounts at the pump, before the holiday arrives". "A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence".

Air travel is expected to grow by 5 percent to 3.95 million trips, buoyed by the cheapest tickets since 2013, AAA said. "These factors should help fuel consumer spending and generate a strong finish for the travel industry this year".

This a 3.3 percent increase from last years projections, which will bring 1.6 million more people on to the nation's roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.

Holiday high: auto rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day, which may be due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.

Two Florida cities - Orlando and Fort Lauderdale - are expected to rank among the county's top 10 Thanksgiving destinations, AAA said.