Thanksgiving time is known as one of the busiest travel periods of the year. But despite the unusual convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving creating one big hybrid holiday for some families, AAA forecasts a slight decrease in holiday travelers for the 2013 turkey feast. A 1.5 percent decrease from the 44 million people who traveled for Thanksgiving 2012 has been projected, with some 43.3 million Americans commuting 50 miles or more from home next week during the typical Wednesday-Sunday Thanksgiving travel period.
AAA says the minor decline in holiday travel can be attributed to the tepid economic climate.
"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," AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall Doney said Wednesday in a press statement about the AAA forecast.
The traveling crowds aren't the only thing declining from the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday season. Gas prices have also decreased from last year and are expected to continue that trend, CNN reports. AAA predicts gas prices to fall lower than $3 per gallon in some states over the holiday period.
"For those traveling the good news is motorists will receive a holiday bonus in the form of lower gas prices, which are at their lowest levels for the holiday since 2010," Doney said.
The majority of the holiday transit from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after is expected to be on the roads, with 38.9 million, or 90 percent, traveling by car, according to AAA. By comparison, 3.1 million will be traveling by air and 1.4 million travelers will commute to their holiday destinations with other modes of transportation including bus, trains or cruise ships.
One factor that could add headache to holiday travel is inclement weather. The Northeast interior is expected to get hit with some snow and rain next week, which may impact the Northeast corridor of I-95, Weather.com reports. A severe rain storm is also expected to affect the coastal parts of the Southeast the day before Thanksgiving. AccuWeather.com reports possible storm related flight delays in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia if the weather continues as predicted.