Thanksgiving travel numbers to rise, for a change

After several consecutive drops in the number of travelers on holidays this year, the forecast calls for a turn-around during the Thanksgiving weekend. Rose White, spokeswoman for AAA-Nebraska, says many people who held off on taking trips during the past several months will be hitting the road in the upcoming week.
AAA projects 38.4-million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, an increase of 1.4-percent from last Thanksgiving. Most of those travelers, about 86-percent, will be in cars. About 2.3-million people will fly, while the rest will be going by bus, train or ship.
White says the expected increase in travelers for this holiday isn’t considered much of a surprise, given how far the number fell a year ago. White says, “The increase in travel is welcome news because if we look back to the other major holidays over the summer period, including Memorial Day, Labor Day and July 4th, travel had been down.”
She says Thanksgiving travel last year had fallen 25-percent from 2007, due to the financial and housing crisis. White says this year’s expected travel boost reflects an improvement in consumer confidence from a year ago and a growing sense that the worst of the global economic crisis is behind us.
White says motor vehicle traffic for the holiday is expected to rise compared to 2008, despite the fact gasoline is much more expensive than a year ago. She says travelers across Nebraska can expect to pay $2.68 a gallon for self service unleaded. That’s up quite a bit from last year, when gas prices in Nebraska averaged $2.00 a gallon.
The national average is $2.63 a gallon, up from $2.06 a year ago.