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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

AAA: Thanksgiving Travel Increasing

The numbers are in and Thanksgiving travel is on the rise yet again.

AAA has released this year's Thanksgiving holiday forecast and the figures show that Thanksgiving travel will increase for the fourth consecutive year.

AAA predicted that 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This is up from the 43.3 million people who traveled last year.

These numbers mark the fourth consecutive year of increased holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low and only 37.8 million Americans traveled.

Photo by AP
Photo by AP

About 90 percent of travelers plan to do their Thanksgiving traveling by automobile this year. This is an increase of 0.6 percent from the 38.9 million people who traveled by car last year.

While automobile travel is on the rise, the amount of people traveling by air is decreasing. AAA expects to see a 1.7 percent decrease in air travel with only 3.14 million people opting to fly.

According to AAA's Leisure travel index those choosing to fly will find lower airfares. The average lowest round-trip rate is $188 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, an 11 percent decrease from last year.

USC senior Nike Senou, a Maryland native, is one of the holiday travelers taking advantage of the lower fares.

"I'm usually spending upwards to $500 to get home for Thanksgiving but this year my ticket was only like $350," said Senou.

Airfares aren't the only prices going down this holiday season; AAA estimates that the average price of gasoline will drop to between $3.35 - 3.40 per gallon.

Hurricane Sandy is expected to have some effects on this year's holiday travels.

"While we do not yet know the full impact that Hurricane Sandy will have on travel from the Mid-Atlantic region, we do know that the impact for many Americans in that region is substantial," said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet.

Students going out of town for Thanksgiving can register for free parking during Thanksgiving break at

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