The Thanksgiving stampede is about to begin

(Mark Gail/The Washington Post)
(Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

In the era of the horse and buggy, what you’re about to read here would sound like a stampede.

Forty-three million Americans say they plan to go somewhere on Thanksgiving weekend that’s at least 50 miles from home. That projection from a AAA survey, is a slight decrease from the number who traveled on the long Wednesday-to-Sunday weekend last year.

About 90 percent of the sojourners say they plan to drive to their destination, while about 3.14 million say they will fly, another slight decline from last year. People say they expect to spend a little less, too — a median of $465, or about $33 less than last Thanksgiving. AAA says travelers usually spend less on travel at Thanksgiving than they do on other holidays the auto club tracks. This year, the median projection for Labor Day spending was $804, Independence Day $749, and Memorial Day $659.

“Ninety percent of Thanksgiving travelers will set off to their destination by car, and those travelers will benefit from having the lowest gas prices for a Thanksgiving travel period since 2010,” said AAA’s Lon Anderson. “Thanksgiving is about breaking bread with generations of family members, and it is no wonder that so many people will be on the roads for this holiday.”

The AAA, which also tracks gas prices, says they have dipped below $3 per gallon at some stations in most states, and should continue to drop in the weeks ahead.

Air fares haven’t dipped since last year, AAA says, but they are comparable to last year, with the average lowest round-trip rate at $187 for the top 40 U.S. air routes compared to $188 last year. Approximately 1.4 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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