It’s going to take longer to get to that turkey and dressing this year.
That’s the message from experts who say that an improving economy, more disposable income, consumer optimism and low gas prices are combining to create the biggest Thanksgiving travel rush in years.
USA Today reported that auto club AAA projects that 46.3 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, a 4.2% increase over last year and the highest volume since 2007.
“Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel,” says AAA president and chief operating officer Marshall Doney.
Thanksgiving fuel prices are the lowest in five years. On Thursday, the national average price for a gallon of regular was $2.85 – 43 cents lower than the average price of $3.28 a year ago, AAA says.
More than 89% of holiday travelers – 41.3 million – will travel by automobile, a 4.3% increase over last year. Thanksgiving air travel is also expected to be at the highest level since 2007, with 3.55 million people flying to their destinations, AAA says. That’s 3% more than in 2013.
Air travelers will find moderately higher airfares, with prices averaging 1% higher than a year ago, AAA says.
Travelers will find prices about 8% higher for midrange hotels; rental cars will cost 10% more.
The Thanksgiving holiday is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 30.
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