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AAA releases Thanksgiving Travel Forecast; 46.9 Million Americans Expected to Travel


Seventh consecutive year of growth; the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007

AAAKnoxville, TN – AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 0.6 percent increase from the 46.6 million people who traveled last year and the most in eight years.

With 300,000 additional holiday travelers, this marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel.

2015 Thanksgiving Travelers

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25th to Sunday, November 29th.

“Americans still place a high premium on being with family for Thanksgiving,” said Brent Stahlheber, Sr. Vice President – Brand Marketing and Travel, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Improvements in the economy and low gas prices should generate an increase in holiday travelers for the seventh consecutive year.”

How they are getting thereDespite improvements in the economy, including steady wage growth, rising disposable income and a falling unemployment rate, consumers remain hesitant to spend at a level that would drive significant travel growth.

As such, only a minimal increase of 0.6 percent is expected for the holiday this year, versus the 4.9 percent increase seen last year.

“Lower gas prices this year make it more affordable for people to travel for Thanksgiving,” said Don Lindsey, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Americans will likely see the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. These pump prices are helping to boost disposable income which helps people feel more confident about traveling.”

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving

Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving, an increase of 0.7 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.1 percent, with 3.6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease 1.4 percent this Thanksgiving, to 1.4 million travelers.

“Americans largely prefer auto travel because it provides more control over expense, trip distance and duration,” said Jenkins. “Auto travel volume tends to be evenly spread out over the five day holiday, but airports are especially busy on Wednesday and Sunday.”

AUTO TRAVEL 41.9 million 1,025,217
2014 41.6 million 1,007,941
CHANGE +0.7% 1.7%
AIR TRAVEL 3.6 million 35,153
2014 3.6 million 34,378
CHANGE +0.1% 2.3%
OTHER MODES 1.4 million 15,493
2014 1.42 million 15,058
CHANGE -1.4% 2.9%
TOTAL TRAVEL 46.9 million 1,075,863
2014 46.6 million 1,057,378
CHANGE +0.6% 1.7%


Lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in 7 years expected


2015 Thanksgiving Day Gas Prices

Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $350 million on gasoline every day compared to a year ago. This has helped boost disposable income, enabling many Americans to travel this Thanksgiving.

Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.14, 66 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.80).

“Low oil prices and surplus supplies should either keep gas prices at their current levels or push them lower throughout the holiday season,” Jenkins said. “Gas prices typically decline in November and December, and that trend should continue this year, unless oil prices rise unexpectedly.”

Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to decrease 10 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $169.00 round trip across the top 40 domestic flight routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with travelers spending an average of $155.00 per night.

The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $118.00. Daily car rental rates will average $60, eight percent higher than last Thanksgiving.

#AAAToTheRescue for thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving

AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway.

Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit or call 1.800.AAA.HELP to request roadside assistance.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway

Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to over 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.

ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.




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