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Californians gobble up Thanksgiving travel
holiday travel
More than 4.9 million Californians projected to hit the road during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. - photo by Photo Contributed

This year’s four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend reflects a steady increase of Californians projected to travel since 2009, according to the latest travel survey from AAA.

 AAA Northern California’s travel forecast predicts that more than 5.7 million Californians plan to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving holiday celebration. This represents a slight increase of 0.6 percent when compared to last year’s figures. 

 “A steady pace of consumer confidence continues to motivate budget-conscience Californians to get behind the wheel or board an airplane to gather with family and friends,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “While many remain cautious about the economy and their personal finances, lower gas prices and a higher level of consumer optimism have contributed to increase in holiday excursions.”

 According to AAA, car travel will lead the way with more than 4.9 million Californians projected to drive during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This represents a 0.7 percent increase when compared to last year’s figures. 

GasBuddy projects that by Thanksgiving Day the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline will be $1.99, nearly 80 cents per gallon cheaper than last year and $1.29 per gallon cheaper than 2013. As prices at the pump have plunged, the number of states seeing average prices under $2 per gallon has more than tripled in the last two weeks, rising to 19 states, with nearly 60 percent of all U.S. gas stations now selling below $2 per gallon.

In California, gas prices are still above the $2 mark, with a median price of $2.69 seen across the state on Tuesday. In Turlock, however, a gallon of gasoline could be found on Tuesday for $2.27 at Costco and the ARCO station on Lander Avenue.

AAA projects that more than 616,000 holiday travelers will fly, which is a decrease of -0.4 percent when compared to 2014. Approximately 180,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains, an increase of 0.6 percent when compared to last year’s figures.

 Nationally, AAA forecasts that more than 47 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the four-day weekend, a 0.6 percent increase compared to last year’s travel statistics.

 The AAA Leisure Travel Index reports that prices at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with an average price of $155 per night. AAA Two Diamond lodgings are expected to be four percent higher, with an average room costing $118 per night.

 This Thanksgiving weekend, airfares will decrease by 10 percent, landing at an average of $169 roundtrip across the top 40 domestic flight routes, according to the AAA Leisure Travel Index.  Car rental rates will average $60 for the holiday weekend, up eight percent from last year. The expected primary activities this holiday weekend will be dining, shopping and visiting family and friends.

 Because of heightened security measures taking place in major airports due to the recent terrorist bombings in Europe, AAA Travel advises worldwide caution for U.S. travelers. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.