The price of gas might be up and the economy is less than prosperous, but Americans are still planning on driving or flying to be with their families over the holiday season, according to AAA.
In fact, this year marks the first significant increase in holiday travel in several years, says AAA’s Fran Mayko.
“Strong family ties and a pent-up demand to travel are the driving forces of this year’s four percent increase during the one holiday of the year that traditionally brings together family and friends,” she said.
This year, approximately 42.5 million people will be taking to cars and planes between Nov. 23 and 27, says Mayko. And of those intrepid travelers, 90 percent will take to the roads, which is a four percent increase compared with Thanksgiving 2010.
Travel throughout the region is expected to increase to about four percent over a year ago. Travel both by car and air are coming in just below the national averages.
“The forecast indicates that just over 12 percent of the New England population will travel this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period,” says Mayko.
The higher price of gas does not seem to be dissuading people from choosing cars as the mode of travel choice this year. The affordability, convenience and flexibility of automobile travel are still assets to people. But to offset these costs, American travel plans seem to be staying closer to home than last.
“On average they’ll log about 706 miles round trip, compared to the 806 miles last year,” Mayko said.
The current average national price for a gallon of regular is $3.38, 50 cents more than one year ago. In Westchester County, the average price of a gallon of regular gas is $3.67, 54 cents more than a year ago.
Wherever your holiday travels take you this season, drive safely.