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Higher prices for hotel rooms, rental cars and airfares will not keep families home this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. AAA estimates that 38.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 2.7% increase from last year’s 37.3 million travelers.
“Airports and highways will be busier than ever,” said AAA CEO and President Robert L. Darbelnet. “Higher prices for hotel rooms, rental cars and airfare have increased, but that will not keep people from traveling.”
Approximately 31.7 million travelers – 82.8% of all holiday travelers – expect to go by motor vehicle, a 2.6% increase from the 30.8 million who drove a year ago.
Holiday auto travelers will find gas prices nationwide currently averaging $2.23 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline — about nine cents lower than this time last year.
“Americans will take advantage of the fact that gas prices have been falling for the past several months,” said Darbelnet. “They might have foregone the summer family vacations because of high gas prices, but extended family get-togethers and lower gas prices will encourage Americans to get back on the road.”
AAA expects 4.8 million Americans, or 12.5% of holiday travelers, to travel by airplane, up 3.2% from the 4.6 million that flew last Thanksgiving holiday. A projected 1.9 million travelers (5%) will go by train, bus, or other mode of transportation, including recreational vehicle, up slightly from 1.8 million a year ago.
Despite paying less at the pump, travelers will face much higher prices for hotels, airfares and car rentals, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. Holiday hotel rates are up 16% for AAA-Rated Three Diamond hotels, as strong demand allows hoteliers to increase rates. Car rental costs will show an average increase of 21%. With an average 4% increase from last year, air fares will be more costly, but travelers won’t see the extreme price hikes they will experience with hotel and car rental rates.