TOWSON, MD (November 15, 2016) –– AAA is projecting the number of Thanksgiving holiday travelers, nationwide and in Maryland, will increase for the eighth consecutive year. Nationwide, 48.7 million Americans are expected to journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, a 1.9 percent increase over 2015, and the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007. Over one million Marylanders are forecasted to travel during the holiday period, reflecting a three percent increase and the highest travel volume in over 10 years, since 2005. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 27.
“Many more consumers nationwide, and in Maryland, are expected to open their wallets for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday thanks to improvements in the economy during the second half of 2016,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Rising wages, increased consumer spending, and overall strength in consumer confidence appear to be the driving factors contributing to this year’s rise in holiday travel volume.”
Thanksgiving gas prices second-cheapest in nearly a decade
With the vast majority of travelers driving to their holiday destination, most will pay the second-cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008, when both the national and Maryland average price was $1.85 per gallon. Last year drivers paid the lowest gas prices for a Thanksgiving holiday since 2008.
As of Monday, November 14, the national average price for gasoline was $2.17 cents per gallon, 12 cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.05). Maryland’s average was $2.20, 11 cents higher than last year’s holiday average of $2.09 per gallon.
“While gas prices across Maryland have been fluctuating over the past several weeks, overall the state average has been heading in a downward direction,” said Averella. “However, it is unlikely prices will drop to last year’s levels by Thanksgiving Day.”
Thanksgiving airfares, hotel rates and car rental prices mixed
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to increase 21 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $205 for a roundtrip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $123. Daily car rental rates will average $52, 13 percent lower than last Thanksgiving.
AAA will rescue thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA expects to rescue more than 370,000 motorists nationwide this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.
Based on last year’s figures, AAA Mid-Atlantic anticipates coming to the aid of over 23,000 disabled motorists in the club’s five-state and Washington, D.C. region, with an estimated 6,000 of those motorists in Maryland.
AAA recommends that motorists check the condition of their battery and tires and pack emergency kits 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 nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America or at one of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Car Care Centers, including nine locations in Maryland. 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 on a Thanksgiving trip, travelers are encouraged to download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android at AAA.com/mobile.
All 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 find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and 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 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 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 2016 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 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 http://aaa.com