Bucking trends from previous years, increased travel is predicted for this Thanksgiving weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. In a release, the travel organization said 42.5 million people are expected to hit the road from Wednesday through Sunday.
"Driving AAA’s projected increase in the number of Thanksgiving travelers is pent-up demand from Americans who may have foregone holiday travel the last three years," said Jenny M. Robinson, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "As consumers weigh the fear of economic uncertainty and the desire to create lasting family memories this holiday, more Americans are expected to choose family and friends over frugality."
The agency predicts:
- 38.2 million will travel by automobile (up 4 percent) nationwide;
- 3.4 million will travel by plane (up 1.8 percent) nationwide; and
- These travelers will spend on average $517 per trip in the Middle Atlantic region.
On top of increased travel compared to recent Thanksgivings, this year's predictions also exceed earlier 2011 travel.
"This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year," Robinson said. "Memorial Day travel was statistically flat while Independence Day and Labor Day travel experienced decreases of 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively."
In the five-county Philadelphia area (with a population of about 4 million), about 11.7 percent are projected to travel—89 percent by car.
On Black Friday specifically, AAA also said there should be an increase in shoppers. The National Retail Federation predicts 152 million people will hit the stores Nov. 25, up 10 percent from 2010.
AAA bases its projections on research by IHS Global Insight, a Boston-based firm teamed that jointly analyzes travel trends with the agency during the major holidays. A complete report can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.