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Millions Hitting the Road for Thanksgiving Travel

November 26, 2013

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AAA projects 43.4 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a decrease of 1.5% from the 44 million people who traveled last year.

This falls just shy of last Thanksgiving’s four-year peak since the recession-driven declines in 2008-2009 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25%. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.

AAA asked intended travelers which days they would depart for and return from Thanksgiving travel. Among those surveyed, the highest volumes of travelers plan to leave for their trip the Wednesday before the holiday, 37%, and return the following Sunday, 33%, with another 24% expecting to return on Monday, Dec 2 or later.

Approximately 90% of travelers or 38.9 million people plan to travel by automobile this Thanksgiving. This is a 1.6% over the 39.5 million people who traveled by auto last year. Air travel is expected to decrease 3.7% as 3.14 million holiday travelers will take to the skies.

According to the survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is expected to be 601 miles, which is an increase of 2.2% from last year when travelers planned to log 588 miles.

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