AAA Projects 1.1 Million Hoosiers Will Travel During Thanksgiving

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Indianapolis, IN - Nov. 25, 2014 - AAA Travel projects 1.1 million Hoosiers will travel during the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend, a 5.4 percent increase from 2013. Of those, an estimated 952,056 will go by automobile, 5.6 percent more than one year ago.

Air travel is also expected to be up in Indiana with 79,982 expected to fly (a 2.7 percent increase).

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 30.

Thanksgiving Travel Trends for Indiana Residents...

Indiana (Thanksgiving - total holiday travelers)
2009 - 835,597
2010 - 910,386
2011 - 952,011
2012 - 1,005,205
2013 - 1,009,593
2014 - 1,064,202 (forecast)

Indiana (Thanksgiving - automobile travelers)
2009 - 780,905
2010 - 818,191
2011 - 854,735
2012 - 903,015
2013 - 901,187
2014 - 952,056 (forecast)

Indiana (Thanksgiving - air travelers)
2009 - 34,826
2010 - 74,415
2011 - 71,821
2012 - 74,385
2013 - 77,864
2014 - 79,982 (forecast)

The travel tendencies of Indiana residents are reflective of nationwide numbers.

Overall, AAA Travel projects 46.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for that holiday since 2007 and a 4.2 percent increase over 2013.

Almost 90 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will celebrate the holiday with a road trip and will likely enjoy the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years.

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 percent 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.
  • More than 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile, a 4.3 percent 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 percent more than in 2013.
  • The average distance traveled this Thanksgiving will be 549 miles roundtrip and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.

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 will likely pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years. More than 89 percent (41.3 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 4.3 percent increase from 2013.

Travel expenses rise modestly
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase eight percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $154 per night compared to $142 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $114 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $55, 10 percent higher than last year. Airfares will only increase one percent with an average discounted round-trip rate of $189 across 40 top domestic routes.

Most of travelers' budgets go toward transportation, food and shopping
Travelers are expected to spend an average of $573 over the course of their holiday travels. Despite lower average gas prices, travelers are allocating 31 percent of their budgets to fuel transportation. Food and beverage and shopping will account for 22 percent and 20 percent of holiday travel budgets, respectively.

Travelers' spending plans mirror their intended activities this Thanksgiving, with 70 percent reporting they will enjoy dining during their vacation and 59 percent indicating they will go shopping. Eighty-nine percent of travelers plan to spend time with friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.