TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2010) —
Thanksgiving travel in the state of Florida is projected to increase 10.9 percent this year from 2009, with more than 2.2 million Floridians taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home between Wednesday, Nov. 24 and Sunday, Nov. 28. Overall, travel in the U.S. is projected to increase 11.4 percent from last year, with more than 42.2 million travelers.
Thanksgiving travel is mostly comprised of auto travelers, with more than 2.1 million Floridians traveling by automobile, an increase of 11.6 percent from last year. AAA expects the average price of regular retail gasoline in Florida to be between $2.80 and $2.90 per gallon during the holiday weekend, respectively. Air travel is expected to increase by 2.8 percent however travel by other modes is projected to decrease by 0.8 percent in the state.
"This is great news,” said Brent Hubele, Vice President, AAA Travel. “Not only is travel up across the board, but it’s a sign consumers are more confident and willing to take time off, spend money to travel, and visit with friends and family this holiday weekend.”
Median spending and average distance traveled barely increase
Although travel is projected to increase, respondents only expect to spend $1 more this year than last year, with an average median spending of $495. Total spending can be roughly grouped into two categories: transportation and pleasure. Thirty-two percent of total spending is expected to go to transportation costs and 38 percent towards shopping and dining. In addition, the average distance traveled is expected to increase by only one mile, for an average of 816 miles round-trip.
Airfare, hotel rates increase; car rental rates decrease compared to last year
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares during the Thanksgiving holiday are expected to increase four percent from last year with an average round-trip rate of $170. Daily car rental rates are expected to decrease four percent to an average of $42. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $136 per night compared to $128 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay four percent more as well, with an average cost of $96 per night.