AURORA, Ill., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AAA projects 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. This increase marks the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.
The total number of Illinois travelers will be 2.3 million, a 0.6 percent increase from 2011, with 2.08 million traveling by auto (up 0.6 percent from 2011) and 170,000 traveling by air (a 1.8 percent decrease from 2011). In Indiana, there will be 958,000 total travelers this year, a 0.6 percent increase from 2011, with 860,000 traveling by auto (a 0.6 percent increase) and 70,000 traveling by air (a 1.7 percent decrease). Gas prices are little lower than 2011 as travelers take to the roads this weekend. In Illinois the average cost of an unleaded gallon of gasoline is $3.49 and in Indiana the cost is $3.42.
National highlights from the 2012 AAA Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast include:
- Thanksgiving travelers to total 43.6 million, an increase of 0.7 percent from the 43.3 million who traveled last year
- Ninety percent of travelers or 39.1 million to travel by automobile, an increase of 0.6 percent
- Holiday air travel to decline to 3.14 million travelers from 3.2 million in 2011
- Median spending expected to drop 10 percent to $498, compared to $554 last year. Spending remains consistent with historic averages as Americans continue to prioritize travel while finding ways to economize
- Average distance traveled to decline to 588 miles from 706 miles, due in part to a decrease in the number of air travelers and Americans desire to economize budgets
- Despite mild improvements in unemployment, the housing market and greater consumer optimism, the economy is still struggling to keep its head above water