Despite the average cost of gasoline standing at $2.79 a gallon, the highest it’s been in four years, driving remains the most common method of travel for Americans this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

THE GOOD TIMES are getting Americans rolling this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. About 54.3 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home for the holiday, a 4.8 percent increase over last year and the highest travel volume since 2005, due in part to the strong economy.

As has been the case over past years, most of those travelers, 48.5 million, will be driving to their destinations, according to the AAA forecast. During the travel period, Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, the average nightly rate for AAA Three Diamond hotels is expected to be $166, a 6 percent drop from last year. However, the rates for Two Diamond hotels rose 6 percent over last year to $124.

“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income, and rising levels of household wealth,” AAA Travel Senior Vice President Bill Sutherland said. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”

Like last year, the increase in travelers on the road comes despite the average cost of gasoline standing at $2.79 a gallon, the highest it’s been in four years. The amount of air travel for the holiday is 5.4 percent or 4.27 million travelers, and travelers expected to take trains, buses, and cruise ships is expected to increase by 1.4 percent to a total of 1.48 million passengers.

The top 10 destinations for Thanksgiving shows most people are heading to large cities, theme parks and warm-weather destinations. The top 10 follows.

  1. Orlando
  2. New York
  3. Anaheim, California
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Cancun, Mexico
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth
  8. Honolulu
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Miami