Thanksgiving travel to increase, says AAA

Thanksgiving travel is set to see an increase this year After a precipitous decline in 2008, travel during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday weekend is expected to increase despite consumers’ continued efforts to consolidate debt and limit their expenses in the wake of the Great Recession.

According to a recent study conducted by AAA, Thanksgiving weekend travelers will increase by 1.4 percent from 2008’s figures with 38.4 million Americans embarking on trips of 50 miles or longer.

"Although far too many Americans remain unemployed or under other financial stress, AAA’s projected increase in Thanksgiving travel from one year ago is another hopeful sign that economic conditions are stabilizing and improving in some areas, said AAA’s director of Travel Services Glen MacDonell.

In 2008 Thanksgiving holiday travel saw a 25.2 decrease as the economic crisis in the housing and financial markets worsened. The increased travel in 2009 is likely a sign that consumer confidence in the economy is recovering.

While automobile travel will be the most popular mode of transport and will be used by 33.2 million travelers, a 2.1 percent increase from 2008, more expensive air travel continued to see a drop in usage by 6.7 percent with only 2.3 million customers.

Since 2000, the number of Americans traveling by air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has dropped by 62 percent.