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Reduced consumer confidence and higher travel prices will slow the growth in American’s travel plans but will not keep families home this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.
The national auto club projects that nearly 37.3 million Americans will take a trip of 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, representing a 0.8% increase above the 37 million who traveled last year.
AAA said approximately 30.8 million, or 83%, plan to travel by motor vehicle while another 4.64 million (12%) plan to go by airplane. A projected 1.81 million vacationers (5%) will go by train, bus or other mode of transportation, including recreational vehicle.
“Higher prices and sagging consumer confidence will make Thanksgiving travel growth a bit less robust this holiday, although airports and highways still be will as busy as ever,” said Gail Weinholzer, AAA Minnesota/Iowa spokesperson. “Prices for gasoline, hotel rooms and rental cars have increased, but that will not keep people from traveling.”
Thanksgiving holiday travelers will find gas prices nationwide currently averaging $2.27 a gallon – down 47 cents in the past month, but still about 31 cents higher than a year ago.
In addition to higher pump prices, AAA’s Leisure Travel Index reports holiday hotel rates are up 1.5% (at AAA-rated Three Diamond hotels) as strong demand allows hoteliers to increase rates that they raised last year, too. Car rentals are increasing 3.2% from last year.
The one exception to these higher prices is in airfares, where expanded service by low cost carriers on some routes has pushed fares down 4.8% on average. However, many of these cheaper tickets were snapped up earlier than expected, as many people booked during the summer instead of waiting until September.