AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving; a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2005, with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.


“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of what will likely become the busiest holiday season in more than a decade,” said Vicky Evans, assistant vice president, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence. These factors should help fuel consumer spending and generate a strong finish for the travel industry this year.”


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


National Forecast:


• Road Trippers: 89 percent of all travelers — 45.5 million — are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 1.6 million people (3.2 percent) over last year.


• Cheaper Airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.


• Fuller Skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.


• Alternate Travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.


• Fueling Up: Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2015.


• Holiday High: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.


• Travelers still hitting the road despite higher gas prices. The national average on Thanksgiving Day was $2.14 in 2016, $2.05 in 2015, and $2.80 in 2014.