A sluggish economy and concerns about disposable income have put a slight damper on Thanksgiving travel this year for many California families, according to the latest travel survey from AAA.
AAA Northern California's travel forecast predicts that more than 5.1 million Californians plan to travel 50 miles or more this extended, four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This represents a modest decrease of -0.04 percent when compared to last year's figures.
"Californians will set aside thoughts of fiscal uncertainty to gather and feast with people who matter most in their lives," said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. "While travel projections are lower than last Thanksgiving in 2012, this year's travel forecast is still well above the 2008-2009 levels when the recession caused a drop in travel of more than 25 percent."
According to AAA, more than 4.4 million Californians are projected to travel by motor vehicle during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This represents a - 4.6 percent decrease when compared to last year's figures. AAA projects that more than 500,000 holiday travelers will fly, which is a decrease of -4.9 percent when compared to 2012. Approximately 193,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains. This represents an increase of 1.8 percent when compared to last year's figures.
Nationally, AAA forecasts that more than 43 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the four-day weekend. This represents a -1.5 percent decrease compared to last year's travel statistics.
An average West Coast family of four is projected to spend an average of $681 over the holiday weekend. Families who travel by car are likely to drive an average of 795 miles over the four-day holiday weekend. AAA's Leisure Travel Index reveals that prices at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are down about one percent from a year ago, with an average price of $143 per night. AAA Two Diamond lodgings are expected to be one percent higher, with an average room costing $104 per night.