Fewer Americans expected to travel this Thanksgiving
AAA SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND projects that fewer Americans will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, due to uncertainty caused by the sluggish recovery of the U.S. economy. Last year, 44 million Americans traveled during the Thanksgiving weekend, while this year AAA anticipates 43.4 million, a 1.5 percent decline.
PROVIDENCE – Approximately 43.4 million Americans will travel from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent decline compared with last year’s Thanksgiving, AAA Southern New England reported last week.
In New England, holiday travel is expected to decline 2.5 percent, with 12.9 percent of all New Englanders planning to travel between Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Dec. 1.
In 2012, 44 million people traveled for Thanksgiving nationwide.
“While the economy continues to improve, the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers, and therefore AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year,” said Lloyd P. Albert, senior vice president of public and government affairs for AAA. “On a positive note, travel volumes are expected to remain well above 2008 and 2009 levels when the recession caused a drop in travelers of more than 25 percent.”
In addition, AAA predicted a 6.6 percent decline in median spending for the holiday – projected at $465 per traveler this year – and a 3.7 percent drop in air travel. Last year 3.26 million Americans traveled by air, while this year AAA expects 3.14 million.
A wintry storm that has grounded hundreds of flights in the southern United States will reach the East Coast on Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported Monday, bringing heavy rain and high winds to the Northeast in the middle of the Thanksgiving travel rush.
“The I-95 corridor is going to see a lot of rain and a lot of wind and that will be true from the mid-Atlantic states all the way up to Boston and Portland,” said Rob Carola, owner of Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, N.H., in the Bloomberg article. “This is not going to be a snowstorm for the megalopolis.”
The storm – accompanied by a drop in temperatures and snowfall along the Appalachian Mountains through western New York and northern New England – is expected to cause travel delays, especially at the region’s airports.
Ninety percent of Thanksgiving weekend travelers, or 38.9 million people, will travel by automobile, AAA said, and drivers this year will pay the cheapest gas prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2010.
According to a survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will be 602 miles, up 2.2 percent from 588 miles last year.