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Millions hitting the road for Thanksgiving

6:35 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
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Millions of Americans will be traveling this Thanksgiving, and if you are driving Wednesday evening, it may feel like they are all sharing the roads with you!

The day before Thanksgiving is usually one of the busiest travel days of the year, so experts say plan on higher than usual traffic volume and be patient.

AAA projects that 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7% from last year. If so, that would mark the fourth consecutive year of increases since the financial crisis of 2008.

Ninety percent will drive to Thanksgiving destinations and 7% will fly, according to Robert Darbelnet, AAA president. The average travel budget this year is $498, which he said is down from $544 last year.


While more my be traveling, they are taking shorter trips.  On average, Americans will travel about 588 miles round trip this Thanksgiving season, down 16.7 percent from last year as economic uncertainty continues to weigh on residents, according to estimates from the AAA.

In Tennessee, AAA estimates that nearly 1 million travelers will hit the road or take to the air for the holiday, just a 1.3 percent increase over last year.

The vast majority will travel by car, while the number of Tennesseans flying out of town for Thanksgiving is expected to decline 1.2 percent, according to the AAA's estimates. The number of Tennesseans traveling by bus or train for Thanksgiving is expected to jump by more than 25 percent.

Jessica Brady, a AAA spokeswoman for the Auto Club Group that covers Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, said the past couple of years saw strong travel growth. She attributes that to pent up demand after the recession in 2008.


But this year, the economy is likely again playing a factor in the flat travel growth estimates, she said.

TDOT has halted all road construction for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so that should make your trip a little easier.

You can also expect more law enforcement out on the roads, watching for drunk or distracted drivers.

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