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Santa Stash 2017

Roads Busy With Thanksgiving Travel

KSAL Staff - November 21, 2017 10:14 pm

Kansas Roads and highways will be plenty stuffed with Thanksgiving travel.

AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

  • Road trip ready – 89 percent of all travelers nationally – 45.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
  • Cheaper airfare – Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
  • Fuller skies – The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
  • Alternate travel – Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
  • Fueling up – Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014.
  • Holiday high – Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day, which may be due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.

As Kansans and travelers all across America set out for one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, AAA Kansas provides this snapshot – by the numbers — of some of AAA’s key travel forecast projections and the latest gas prices for Thanksgiving 2017:

Travel Numbers

  • 50.9 million – Number of Americans nationwide who will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year.
  • 1.6 million – Number of additional people nationwide taking to the roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
  • 4.1 million – Number of people in the West North Central Region (in which Kansas is included, along with Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota) who will take Thanksgiving weekend trips of 50 miles or longer, a 3 percent increase over 2016 and the largest number of travelers since 2007
  • 2005 – The last year that had a higher Thanksgiving weekend travel volume than 2017.
  • 89 – Percent of all travelers nationally – 45.5 million – who are planning a Thanksgiving driving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
  • 3.95 million – Number of travelers nationwide who will fly to their Thanksgiving destination. With a 5 percent increase over last year, air travel is the mode of travel that will see the largest growth this year.
  • 330,000 – Number of motorists nationwide that AAA expects to rescue with roadside assistance this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
  • 1,500 – Number of motorists that AAA Kansas Roadside Assistance expects to rescue during the Thanksgiving 2017 travel weekend.
  • $157 – Average price for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index — the lowest average in five years and a 23 percent fare drop from Thanksgiving 2016.
  • 5 – Top 5 destinations for Thanksgiving 2017, according to AAA.com bookings: Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; New York City, New York; Honolulu, Hawaii; Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 34 – Percent increase in daily car rental price from this time in 2016. Travelers can expect to spend $70/day, the highest rate for Thanksgiving weekend since 2013.

Gas Prices

  • 2014 – Last year that drivers faced Thanksgiving gas prices as high as this year.
  • $2.54 – National gas price average as of 11/20/17, two cents less than one week ago and 40 cents more than a year ago.
  • $2.39 – Average Kansas price for a gallon of gas as of 11/20/17.
  • 8 – Kansas’ rank of states with the largest yearly increase in gas prices as of 11/20/17. Kansas’ average per-gallon price has risen 49 cents in the past year. (See attached infographic.)
  • $1.90 – Thanksgiving 2016 gas price in Kansas.
  • $3.21 – Thanksgiving price for a gallon of gas in Kansas in 2012.
  • 13 – Kansas’ rank of states with the lowest gas prices in America as of 11/20/17.
  • $2.64 – Average gas price in St. Francis, Kan. (Cheyenne County), the highest in the state as of 11/20/17.
  • 66871 – ZIP code of Waverly, Kan. (Coffey County), which boasts Kansas’ lowest average gas price this week at $2.21/gallon.
  • 55 – percent of gas stations across America where motorists can find gas for $2.50/gallon or less.


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