AAA Forecasts Slight Decline In NJ Residents’ Thanksgiving Travel Plans

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STATE – AAA projects over one million New Jerseyans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a slight decrease from the number who traveled for Thanksgiving 2012. Nationwide 43.4 million people will be traveling, slightly less than the 44 million who traveled last year. 

“While the economy continues to improve, the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers and therefore AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “For those driving, the good news is motorists will receive a holiday bonus in the form of lower gas prices, which are at their lowest level for the holiday since 2010.”

“The primary focus of Thanksgiving, more so than any other holiday, is to celebrate with friends, family and loved ones. Travelers attempting to carve out a travel budget will be happy to know that Thanksgiving will be the least expensive holiday of the year,” continued Noble.

Travel by the Mode:

  • Automobile
    • New Jersey—994,557 (89% of all travelers), a decrease of 1.4 percent from 2012.
    • Nationally— 38.9 million people (90 percent of holiday travelers), a 1.6 percent decrease from last year.
  • Air
    • New Jersey— 90,227 (8.1% of all travelers), a decrease of 4.9 percent from those who flew last year.
    • Nationally—3.14 million leisure travelers (7.2 percent of holiday travelers), a decrease of 3.7 percent from 2012.
  • Train, Bus, Watercraft or Multi-Modal Travel
    • New Jersey— 28,638 (2.5% of all travelers), an increase of 7.7 percent from last year.
    • Nationally— 1.39 million travelers (3.2 % of all travelers), an increase of 9.5 percent from last year.

Fun Facts & Numbers:

  • The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest single day of travel with 37 percent of travelers departing for trips Nov. 27.
  • 90% – the number of travelers who will go by car (nationally).
  • 89% – the number of New Jersey travelers who will go by car.
  • 7.2% – the number of travelers who will go by air (nationally).
  • 8.1% – the number of New Jersey travelers who will go by air.
  • $3.19 – New Jersey gas average today
  • 504 miles – the average round trip for Middle Atlantic region travelers (including NJ).
  • 601 miles – the average round trip (nationally) up 2.2% from last year.
  • $398 – the average expected trip expenditures for Middle Atlantic region travelers. The Thanksgiving holiday is a less expensive holiday for travelers compared to other holidays. This year Labor Day spending was expected to be $804, Independence Day $749 and Memorial Day $659.
  • 50% – travel parties of just two adults from the Middle Atlantic region.
  • 28% – travel parties of families traveling from the Middle Atlantic region.
  • 72% – of Middle Atlantic region travelers plan to visit with family/friends this holiday weekend.
  • 51% – of Middle Atlantic region travelers plan to shop this holiday period.

The 2013 Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for popular cities. Travelers can learn more at

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