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AAA Projects More Than 42 Million People Will Travel for Thanksgiving

More than 38 million people expected to drive to their Thanksgiving destination this year.

With Thanksgiving less than 48-hours away, AAA is projecting that more than 42 million people will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday.

According to a AAA release, the projected numbers are a four percent increase from the more than 40 million people who traveled for Thanksgiving in 2010. Lon Anderson, a spokesman for AAA said some improvement in the economy has triggered the increase in travel for the holiday this year.

“The economy has improved enough that people are saying ‘That’s it, we’re traveling for Thanksgiving this year’,” Anderson said.

Anderson said AAA has done national polling as recent as a couple weeks ago to get an idea of how many people will be traveling for the holidays. More than 38 million people are expected to drive to their destinations for Thanksgiving with more than three million expected to fly. Other travelers have decided to travel by train and according to AAA, some have said they will travel by boat to Thanksgiving dinner. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period, according to AAA, goes from Nov. 23 through Nov. 27.

Joseph Perkins, 49, of Falls Church, said he plans on loading his family into their car and heading to Ohio Wednesday morning. Filling up Tuesday at a Falls Church gas station, Perkins said it’s cheaper to drive to his parent’s home than it would have been to fly his wife and three children there.

“Sure it would have been quicker to fly, but we couldn’t really find good prices,” Perkins said. “Gas prices are still a bit high for my liking but for the money we saved by driving that can go toward Christmas shopping.”

Anderson said he couldn’t predict what holiday travel for Christmas will be but he said history has showed that it usually mirrors Thanksgiving travel. He said polling for Christmas travel will begin soon but the Thanksgiving numbers are a good indicator of what’s to come.

“I think the explanation for the holiday travel is the economy is improving,” Anderson said.

If you haven’t already done so, click to take the Patch poll on how you plan to spend your Thanksgiving!

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