Anchorage, Alaska. Nov. 8, 2018. AAA projects more than 54 million Americans will travel nationwide this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005).
“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Michelle Donati, spokesperson for AAA Alaska. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”
By the Numbers: AAA’s 2018 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast
•Road trip ready: The vast majority of travelers – 48.5 million – will hit the road for Thanksgiving, nearly 5 percent over last year. Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a statewide average of $3.35 as of November 5, 26-cents more than a year ago.
•Fuller skies: Nearly 4.3 million travelers will take flight, representing the largest growth in holiday travel. Most travelers booked their flights for Thanksgiving between September 23 and October 25, paying an average ticket price of $478 roundtrip.
•Car rental costs fall: Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than last year.
•Hotel prices mixed: Travelers can also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels, with an average nightly rate of $166, a decline of six percent compared to last year. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has increased six percent with an average nightly cost of $124.
“In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday,” Donati said. “Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.”
AAA to Rescue Over 150 Alaska Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 150 Alaska travelers at the roadside over the Thanksgiving travel period. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-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 Markit 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.
Michelle Donati, AAA