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November 17, 2015
AAA: 46.9 MILLION AMERICANS TO TRAVEL FOR THANKSGIVING

Seventh consecutive year of growth; the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007
 

MADISON, Wisc. (November 17, 2015) – AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, over 977,000 of which will be from Wisconsin.  That represents a 0.6 percent increase nationwide and a 1.4 percent jump for the Badger state.  This marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.

“Americans still place a high premium on being with family for Thanksgiving,” said Brent Stahlheber,Sr. Vice President – Brand Marketing and Travel, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“Improvements in the economy and low gas prices should generate an increase in holiday travelers for the seventh consecutive year.”

Despite improvements in the economy, including steady wage growth, rising disposable income and a falling unemployment rate, consumers remain hesitant to spend at a level that would drive significant travel growth. As such, this year’s increase is significantly smaller than the 4.9% seen last year.

“One holiday gift has come early this year in the form of low gas prices,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs, AAA Wisconsin. “Americans are especially thankful for what will likely be the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. These pump prices are helping to boost disposable income, making a Thanksgiving road trip more affordable.”

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving

Nearly 90 percent of travelers will be traveling by automobile this Thanksgiving, meaning over 876,000 will be hitting the roads in Wisconsin. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.1 percent, with 3.6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease 1.4 percent this Thanksgiving, to 1.4 million travelers.

“Americans largely prefer auto travel because it provides more control over expense, trip distance and duration,” said Jarmusz. “Auto travel volume tends to be evenly spread out over the five day holiday, but airports are especially busy on Wednesday and Sunday.” 
 
Lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in 7 years expected

Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $350 million on gasoline every day compared to a year ago. This has helped boost disposable income, enabling many Americans to travel this Thanksgiving. Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008.

“Low oil prices and surplus supplies should either keep gas prices at their current levels or push them lower throughout the holiday season,” Jarmusz said. “Gas prices typically decline in November and December, and that trend should continue this year, unless oil prices rise unexpectedly.”

You can see the most current average pump prices, as well as historical comparisons, at http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/.

Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to decrease 10 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $169 roundtrip across the top 40 domestic flight routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $118. Daily car rental rates will average $60, eight percent higher than last Thanksgiving.

#AAAToTheRescue for thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving

AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway

Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

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 major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.

AAA Wisconsin is part of the Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
 
AAA news releases, high-resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
 

Contact(s):

Nick Jarmusz
phone: 608-828-2495

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