DAYTON, OH — AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
AAA projects 2.1 million Ohioans will journey 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving holiday, the highest number of travelers since 2005. This year nearly 1.9 million Ohioans plan to drive to their destination, an increase of 3.3 percent over last year. With 60,000 additional travelers hitting the road this year, travelers may want to pack some extra patience.
“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager Cindy Antrican. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Nov. 22 to Nov. 26.
By the numbers: 2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast
• Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers –45.5 million– are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
• Cheaper airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
• Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
• Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
• Fueling up: Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2015.
• Holiday high: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles
Travelers still hitting the road despite higher gas prices
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2015, the vast majority of holiday travelers (89.3 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 3.2 percent this Thanksgiving, with 45.5 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. Despite recent declines in the national average price for gasoline, the residual impact of recent months’ hurricanes linger.