AAA forecasts slight increase in Thanksgiving weekend travel

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Higher than usual gas prices are not expected to keep travelers from visiting families and friends during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to AAA.

Gas prices have already exceeded $3 gallon this month, AAA said, and are expected to remain at the level during the Thanksgiving holiday, compared to the average $2.20 a gallon travelers paid last Thanksgiving.

"This is the first time that we have seen gas prices topping more than $3 a gallon in November," said Robert Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA. "But Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for family gatherings and higher gas [prices] will not discourage Americans from connecting with their loved ones."

Generally, AAA said, high gas prices do not deter people from traveling by car, and the organization estimates that 38.7 million Americans will hit the road during the holiday, about 1.5% more than last year.

Of that total, at least 31.2 million travelers will travel by car or other motor vehicle, up slightly from the 30.8 million who drove last Thanksgiving.

AAA, which surveyed 2,200 adults from Oct. 22 to 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday forecast, estimated that 4.7 million Americans will travel by plane and 2.8 million will travel by train, bus or RV.

The survey found that 71.1% of Thanksgiving travelers will be families with children, while 28.9% will travel without children. Most will travel in the West (79.8%), followed by the Midwest (74.2%); the Southeast (68.5%) and the Northeast (65%).

To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].

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