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AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
“A strong economy and labor market are generating higher wages and more disposable income,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “As a result, more travelers will celebrate the holiday with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”
The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.
By the Numbers
As the holiday approaches, consumers are welcoming falling gas prices. The national average for regular gasoline is currently $2.73, 18 cents lower than one month ago. The North Dakota average is down 13 cents from last month and currently sits at $2.76. While the holiday average will be the highest since 2014, motorists will likely see additional savings as the holiday approaches on lower oil prices and a buildup in gasoline inventory levels.
Aside from visiting family and friends, many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks and 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.
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.