Thanksgiving travel up 3.1 percent

| Wednesday, November 24, 2004

If the roads seem a little busier this Thanksgiving holiday, it’s because they are – at least more so than they have been the past few years.

AAA released estimates on this Thanksgiving holiday’s travel trends and increases in the number of people taking to the road and air will push travel volumes above pre-September 11 levels for the first time since the terrorist attacks in 2001. AAA estimates that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 3.1 percent increase from last year’s 36.1 million travelers.

“Travelers’ increased confidence in both the economy and airline security will make this an extremely busy travel holiday,” said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. “Air fares, hotel rates and gas prices have all increased from last Thanksgiving, yet more of us will head for Grandma’s this holiday than did even in 2000 – considered by many to be the high-water mark for the travel industry.”

Approximately 30.6 million travelers – about 82 percent of all holiday travelers – expect to go by motor vehicle, a 2.9 percent increase from the 29.8 million who drove a year ago, according to the AAA press release.

Another 4.6 million, or 12 percent of holiday travelers, plan to travel by airplane, up 4 percent from the 4.4 million that flew last Thanksgiving holiday. A projected 2.0 million travelers, about 5 percent, will go by train, bus or other mode of transportation, up from 1.9 million a year ago.

Research for Thanksgiving holiday travel is based on a national telephone survey of 1,300 adults by the Travel Industry Association of American, which conducts special research for AAA.

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