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Christine Delise
Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
cdelise@aaamidatlantic.com

TOWSON, MD (November 16, 2017) –– AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase compared to last year’s holiday. In Maryland, over one million residents are expected to get away for the holiday weekend, reflecting a similar increase, 3.4 percent.

 

This year’s forecast reflects the highest Thanksgiving travel volume nationwide and in Maryland since 2005.  Additionally, this is the third consecutive year that travel by Marylanders for the holiday is at the one million mark.

 

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, November 26.

 

“Across the country, and in Maryland, this Thanksgiving weekend is expected to be the busiest for the holiday in more than 10 years,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes, driving up the confidence in consumers who are more willing to spend on travel this year.”

 

Volume for all modes of travel for the Thanksgiving weekend is anticipated to increase with air travel anticipated to experience the biggest percentage growth over the 2016 holiday.

 

“With more money in their pockets, consumers are willing to spend on air travel this year, which tends to be the more expensive mode of travel. However, this year flying for the holiday is not as expensive as other years with average airfares the lowest in five years,” commented Averella. “Given the strong uptick in air travel projections, flyers should plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours early in order to make their flights, as airports are expected to be exceptionally busy.”

 

To expedite air travel, AAA recommends travelers enroll in programs such as TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

 

                                        2017 Projected Thanksgiving Holiday Travel

Travel By Mode

Estimated # of American Travelers

% Increase/ Decrease

 

Estimated # of Maryland Travelers

% Increase/ Decrease

Total

50.9 million

+3.3%

 

1,068,800

+3.4%

Auto

45.5 million

(89% of travelers)

+3.2%

 

967,100

(91% of travelers)

+3.3%

Air

3.95million

(8% of travelers)

+5.0%

 

79,200

(7% of travelers)

+4.7%

Other Modes (bus, train, watercraft)

1.48 million

(3% of travelers)

+1.1%

 

22,500

(2% of travelers)

+0.6%

 

Travelers Still Hitting The Road Despite Higher Gas Prices

While AAA expects most drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, when the national average was $2.80 and $2.83 in Maryland, the vast majority of holiday travelers are still planning to hit the road.

 

Today, the national average for regular gasoline is $2.56 per gallon, an increase of nine cents from the previous month’s price and 41 cents higher than last year’s price of $2.15.  Maryland’s average was $2.52 per gallon, reflecting an increase of 14 cents from last month and a 33 cents rise compared to a year ago when the average price at the pump for regular was $2.19.

 

“At a time of year when gas prices typically decline, motorists are finding higher prices at the pump compared to last year,” commented Averella.  “Unfortunately, motorists filling up for their upcoming holiday trip will likely not find relief at the pump. However, once the holiday weekend is over prices should start to trend downward, as cooler weather becomes the norm and gasoline demand declines.”

 

Travelers Beware and Advised: Baltimore’s Traffic Hotspots

Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening – as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week - as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

 

“Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year we could see record-level travel delays,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

 

INRIX analyzed Thanksgiving holiday periods from 2011-2016, traffic trends from major national holiday weekends in 2016, and current traffic trends to predict what drivers might expect for the upcoming Thanksgiving week.

 

              Top Traffic Hotspots in Baltimore Thanksgiving Week

1.

MD-295 N @ I-195

2.

MD-295 N @ MD-100

3.

I-95 N @ MD-100/EXIT

4

I-695 (Outer loop) @ EDMONDSON AVE/EXIT 14

5

I-95 N @ BOSTON ST/EXIT 57

6

I-695 (Inner Loop) @ MD-26/EXIT 18

7.

MD-295 S @ MD-193

8.

I-695 (Inner Loop) @ MD-41/PERRING PKWY/EXIT 30

9.

I-695 (Outer Loop) @ GREENSPRING AVE/EXIT 22

10.

I-95 S @ MD-175/EXIT 41

 

Highs and Lows: Car Rentals, Airfare and Hotel Rates

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay the lowest average in five years for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. At $157, on average, that is a 23 percent fare drop year-over-year.

 

Travelers can expect to spend any ‘flight savings’ on car rentals. At $70/day, the daily car rental average is 34 percent more than last year and the highest rate for Thanksgiving weekend since 2013. The increase in rates may be attributed to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles in the fleets with added features and benefits.

 

Travelers will pay more for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels this holiday weekend. The average price increased by 14 percent to $176/night. Conversely, the average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has decreased 5 percent with an average nightly cost of $117.

 

Top Ten Thanksgiving Destinations

Many travelers will seek theme-park and warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Both Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, top this year’s top 10 holiday destinations, based on nationwide bookings on AAA.com. Compared to previous years, New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco are gaining popularity as holiday spots.

 

Compared to previous years, New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco are gaining popularity as holiday spots.    

  1. Orlando, Florida 
  2. Anaheim, California 
  3. New York City, New York 
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii  
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada 
  6. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 
  7. Cancun, Mexico 
  8. San Francisco, California 
  9. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 
  10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

 

According to Hertz, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers planning to rent a car this Thanksgiving are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Las Vegas (LAS) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, November 22, with an average rental length of nearly five full days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

 

Tows, Battery-Related Issues And Flat Tires To Strand Motorists This Thanksgiving

AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists nationwide during the five-day Thanksgiving travel period.  AAA Mid-Atlantic anticipates coming to the aid of nearly 24,000 disabled motorists in the club’s five-state and Washington, D.C. region, with an estimated 6,000 of those motorists in Maryland.  Primary reasons for roadside service in the Mid-Atlantic region during the holiday weekend, historically, are for towing and battery-related issues, followed by flat tires and lockouts.

 

AAA recommends that motorists check the condition of their battery and tires and pack an emergency kit in their vehicles before heading out on a holiday getaway.

Drivers should have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America or at one of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Car Care Centers, including eleven locations in Maryland. AAA members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

 

Download The AAA Mobile App Before A Thanksgiving Getaway

Before setting out for the long Thanksgiving weekend, travelers can download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android at AAA.com/mobileAll travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, and search for AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities, while AAA members can access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, and request AAA roadside assistance, as well.

 

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

 

About the AAA travel forecast:

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 2017 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.

 

About INRIX:

INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

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Mailing Address:
8600 LaSalle Road, Ste 639
Towson, MD 21286

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit AAA.com.

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