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Thanksgiving travel expected to be highest volume in a dozen years

• Nov 20, 2017 at 4:08 PM

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.

“An uptick in the economy has given travelers plenty to be thankful for this year, and we expect travel to remain plentiful through the holidays” said Jim Lehman, president of AAA East Central. “Most Americans can enjoy time spent with friends and family.”

The East North Central region encompasses Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Regional Thanksgiving forecast highlights include:

• Thanksgiving holiday travelers will total 8.65 million, an increase of 3.3% from the 8.37 million in 2016.

• 7.7 million will travel by automobile, up 3.1% from last year’s number of 7.5 million.

• 672,000 people will fly to their destinations, up 5.8% from the previous year’s amount of 635,000.

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, 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.

Today’s national average price is $2.542, which is 41 cents more than last year.

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