Wednesday before Thanksgiving to be the single busiest day for travel

Hamilton, NJ  – AAA projects approximately 1.2 million New Jerseyans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up 4.1% from those who traveled for Thanksgiving 2013.   Nationwide 46.3 million people will be traveling, an increase of 4.2% from the 44 million who traveled last year.  The 2014 Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 26th to Sunday, November 30th

“This year, more Americans will give thanks for the opportunity to travel to friends and family than any year since 2007,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Holiday joy has come early this year with Americans likely to pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2009.”  

“The primary focus of Thanksgiving, more so than any other holiday, is to celebrate with friends, family and loved ones. Travelers attempting to carve out a travel budget will be happy to know that Thanksgiving will be the least expensive holiday of the year,” continued Noble.

Travel by the Mode:

Automobile

·         New Jersey—1,036,829 (89% of all travelers), an increase of 4.2% from 2013.

·         Nationally— 41.2 million people (89%of holiday travelers), a 4.3% increase from last year.

Air

·         New Jersey— 101,126 (8.6% of all travelers), an increase of 3.2% from those who flew last year.

·         Nationally—3.5 million leisure travelers (7.6% of holiday travelers), an increase of 3% from 2013.

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Multi-Modal Travel

·         New Jersey— 31,105 (2.6% of all travelers), an increase of 4.6% from last year.

·         Nationally— 1.5 million travelers (3.2 % of all travelers), an increase of 4.3% from last year.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

The national price of gasoline has fallen below $3.00 per gallon for the first time since Dec. 22, 2010, a welcome gift for travelers as they head into the busy holiday travel season. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers likely will pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years. More than 89% (41.3 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 4.3% increase from 2013.The decreased cost of gas will provide consumers with real savings that could be used for other purposes on the trip. New current New Jersey average is $2.73. 

Highlights from 2014 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast:

  • Thanksgiving holiday travel volume is expected to reach the highest level since 2007, with 46.3 million Americans taking a trip.
  • The 2014 forecast is 4.2 % higher than the 44.4 million Americans who traveled last year and the greatest growth rate for any holiday since Independence Day 2012.
  • Road trippers likely will pay the lowest Thanksgiving price for fuel in five years.  Today’s New Jersey average price for gas is $2.73, which is 44 cents lower than one year ago. 
  • The national average price of gas is $2.85 per gallon, which is 43 cents lower than the average price for Thanksgiving a year ago ($3.28 per gallon).
  • More than 89 % of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile, a 4.3 % increase from 39.6 million last year.
  • Air travel for Thanksgiving is expected to be at the highest level since 2007, with 3.55 million Americans taking to the skies.
  • Travelers will encounter moderately higher prices with airfares one percent higher, mid-range hotels up eight percent and car rentals costing 10 % more.
  • The average distance traveled this Thanksgiving will be 549 miles round-trip and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.