This Thanksgiving, 54.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home, the highest volume AAA has projected since 2005 and a 4.8% increase from last year.

That means 2.5 million more Americans will travel over the holiday period, Nov. 21-25, according to AAA's annual projection.

Most Thanksgiving travelers, 48.5 million, will drive, a 5% increase in drivers over 2017. They'll pay the highest gas prices they've seen in four years with a national average of $2.79 on Nov. 1, 31 cents more than the average in 2017.

A total of 4.27 million are projected to fly, an increase of 5.4%. According to AAA, most travelers booked Thanksgiving holiday travel from Sept. 23-Oct. 25 with an average fare of $478 roundtrip.

AAA analyzed flight-booking data for the past three years, finding that the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the most popular air traffic days. Unsurprisingly, they also have the highest average roundtrip ticket price ($509 and $507 on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, while the Monday before averages $465 and Thursday, the holiday itself, averages $446).

In total, 1.48 million Americans are projected to travel via train, bus or cruise ships, a 1.4% increase over 2017.

Rental cars are, on average, $63 per day this holiday season, a 10% decrease from last year. The average AAA Three Diamond hotel rate has fallen 6% to $166 per night; the average price of a AAA Two Diamond hotel has increased 6% to $124 per night.

Based on online and travel agency air and tour bookings, AAA found the top destinations for the holiday season are, in order, Orlando; New York; Anaheim, Calif., Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Las Vegas; Cancun; Dallas/Fort Worth; Honolulu; Washington, D.C.; and Miami.

 

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