ANY TALK OF an economic slowdown is apparently muted as consumer confidence remains high enough to drive a near-record setting Thanksgiving travel season this year, according to AAA. More than 55 million Americans will travel for the holiday this year, the highest number since 2005 and a 2.9 percent increase over last year.
Once again, this year most Thanksgiving travelers, 49.3 million, will drive to their destinations, motivated perhaps by low gas prices with this year’s average expected to be $2.57 a gallon. Another 4.5 million are expected to fly, up 4.6 percent over last year, while trains, buses, cruise ships and other modes of transportation will carry the remaining 1.49 million, a 1.4 percent increase.
“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers,” said AAA Vice President for Travel Paula Twidale. “Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”
Average rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are forecast to be about 1 percent higher than last year at $125 a night. However, rates at Three Diamond hotels have fallen 5 percent to $158 a night.
Warm-weather destinations remain popular during the season. Below are AAA’s top 10 destinations.
- Anaheim, California
- New York
- Las Vegas
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- Kahului, Maui, Hawaii