AAA: Thanksgiving travel will hit 13-year high

Brace yourselves. This Thanksgiving, 54.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more away from home, a 4.8 percent increase over last year.

That will be the highest volume of Thanksgiving travelers since 2005, with an additional 2.5 million people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year, according to an analysis by AAA.

Most of those — 48.5 million — will drive to their destinations, even though they will pay the highest gas prices in four years, says INRIX, a global mobility analytics company. That is a five percent increase over last year. Travel times in the most congested cities could be four times longer than a normal trip.

The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.

“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president, said in a written statement. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”

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