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AAA: Thanksgiving travel should increase slightly

The number of Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving in 2012, is expected to increase slightly from a year ago, according to AAA’s annual Thanksgiving travel forecast released Tuesday. (File photo by The Associated Press.)
The number of Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving in 2012, is expected to increase slightly from a year ago, according to AAA’s annual Thanksgiving travel forecast released Tuesday. (File photo by The Associated Press.)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 01:32 pm
NEW YORK – Slightly more Americans will hit the road this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. But they'll take shorter trips to save on gas and other costs as household budgets remain tight.In its annual Thanksgiving travel forecast released Tuesday, AAA predicts 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, up just 0.7 percent from last year. That compares with healthier growth of 8 and 6 percent, respectively, in the last two years. Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent in 2008, the first full holiday season after the recession began.

The number of travelers forecast to drive, fly or hop on a train or bus is still 26 percent below the peak in 2005 and 14 percent below 2007.

Holiday travel is mostly done by car and a dramatic drop in gas prices could inspire some reluctant travelers to get behind the wheel. The national average has declined 35 cents per gallon in the last month. AAA expects further declines through the holiday, although the price of gas on Thanksgiving Day should be close to last year's record of $3.32 per gallon.

AAA says that a stronger economy is needed to spur a bigger jump in travel demand. The auto club believes that trips will average 588 miles this year, down from 706 miles a year earlier. That's partly because of an expected decline in air travelers. But it also reflects a continued focus on saving money.

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