More than 55 million travelers will take a Thanksgiving trip at least 50 miles from home, a 2.9% increase over last year, says AAA.

This Thanksgiving's travel volume is projected to be the second highest since AAA began tracking it in 2000, only surpassed by Thanksgiving 2005.

The numbers of drivers (49.3 million) will rise 2.8%, and the number of flyers (4.45 million) will rise 4.6%. The rest of traveling Americans (1.49 million) will take trains, buses and cruise ships.

The Associated Press reports that with the large spike in Thanksgiving air travel, U.S. airlines are adding about 850 more flights per day than last year, said trade group Airlines for America. There were nearly 25,000 flights a day during the Thanksgiving holiday last year.

AAA found that Thanksgiving rental cars rates have reached the highest level on record since 1999, $75 per day.

Travelers will pay slightly more at AAA Two Diamond hotels, with rates up 1% for an average of $125 per night. But they will spend 5% less at AAA Three Diamond hotels, where the average rate is $158 per night.

In order, the top domestic destinations this Thanksgiving are Orlando; Anaheim, Calif.; New York; Las Vegas; Honolulu; Fort Lauderdale; Tampa; Maui; Phoenix; and Miami.

Internationally, the top destinations are Nassau, Bahamas; Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Munich.

"Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers," said AAA Travel vice president Paula Twidale. "Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season."


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