STATEWIDE – Thanksgiving is on Thursday and those who are planning to travel will have plenty of company on the roads and in the air.
“This is the most people have traveled in the past dozen years or so,” AAA spokesman Chris Hill said.
AAA is predicting that 54 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over the next few days.
The largest growth in travel is by air, according to the national forecast.
“Nationally we’re expecting about a 5 percent increase over last year’s travel but regionally in northern New England, we’re expecting to see higher than that. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 percent over last year,” Hill said.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, gas prices are dropping so those traveling by car will be paying a little less to get to their holiday destination.
“I believe they are about 7 cents lower than they were last week. However, they are about 9 cents higher than they were a year ago,” Hill said.
AAA officials say more than gas prices are behind the increase in travel this holiday season.
“The economy is doing great. People seem to be getting higher wages, which gives them a little bit more wealth in the house and more disposable income so they are using that to get themselves out to see family and friends for the holiday,” Hill said.
With all of the additional people traveling AAA does have a warning. Those who plan to travel to or through a bigger city like Boston should plan on it taking two to three times longer than usual.
The winter driving season started a little earlier this year and with more snow in the forecast, police along with AAA and other officials are urging drivers to allow plenty of time to get to their destinations safely.
Motorists also should remain patient, plan ahead and have an emergency kit just in case the weather gets bad.