More Than 54 Million Americans to Travel Over Thanksgiving, Orlando is Top Destination
By Space Coast Daily // November 11, 2018
strong economy, falling gas prices will fuel significant growth in travel over last year
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving; the most since 2005. The 2018 holiday weekend will see 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared to last year (an increase of 4.8%).
“A strong economy and falling gas prices will fuel significant growth in the number of Floridians planning a trip for Thanksgiving,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“With more travelers comes more congestion at airports and on the roads. AAA urges people to leave early, pack their patience and minimize distractions while behind the wheel.”
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The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, November 26.
Drivers Beware: Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic
The majority of travelers – 48.5 million Americans – will drive to their holiday destinations. During the week of the holiday, motorists should expect congested roads from 3-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, as travelers mix with afternoon commuters; and on Sunday, as holiday travelers return home. Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, says drivers could experience nearly quadruple the normal drive times in high traffic areas.
“Motorists hoping to avoid congestion should try not to travel through major cities during peak travel times,” Nasworthy continued.
“The best advice is to leave early. The roads are generally less crowded in the mornings and on the holiday itself.”
Gas Prices Trending Lower for Turkey Day
Although the Florida average price of gasoline declined 20 cents in the past month, Florida gas prices remain 15 cents higher than last Thanksgiving. The average price in Florida during last year’s holiday was $2.47 per gallon. Today, the average Florida motorist pays around $2.60 per gallon. Click here to find the daily average price of gasoline.
“Motorists have been thankful to see pump prices move lower as we head into the holiday season,” Nasworthy continued. “If oil prices remain low, pump prices should continue to fall, and motorists could find the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in two years.”
Best Times to Fly and Book Thanksgiving Flights
An analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving are usually the most popular air travel days and have the highest average price per roundtrip ticket.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day consistently has the lowest average price per ticket and is the lightest travel day. Travelers looking to save money this holiday season can fly the morning of the holiday and arrive just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
Most travelers booked their flights for Thanksgiving between September 23 and October 25, paying an average ticket price of $478 roundtrip.
Procrastinating travelers who still need to book their flights may find cheaper airfares, paying an average ticket price of $459 between now and November 15. However, last-minute flight availability will likely be very limited.
Car Rental Costs Fall, Hotel Prices Mixed
Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than last year, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.
Travelers can also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels, with an average nightly rate of $166, a decline of six percent compared to last year. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has increased six percent with an average nightly cost of $124.
Top 10 Thanksgiving Destinations
Many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks and other warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Orlando, New York City and Anaheim top this year’s top 10 holiday destinations based on AAA’s online and travel agency air and tour bookings. Punta Cana, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami are all gaining popularity as holiday spots compared with last year.
- Orlando, Florida
- New York, New York
- Anaheim, California
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Cancun, Mexico
- Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Washington, DC
- Miami, Florida
AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.
AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
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