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Tuesday February 9th, 2016 4:57AM

AAA: 43.4 million to travel for Thanksgiving, slight decline from last year

By Staff
TAMPA, Fla. - AAA projects 43.4 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million people who traveled last year.

This decrease falls just shy of last Thanksgiving's four-year peak since the recession-driven declines in 2008-2009 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as today through Monday.

Highlights from this year's 2013 AAA Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast include:

Thanksgiving travelers to total 43.4 million, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million who traveled last year

90 percent of travelers or 38.9 million to travel by automobile, a decline of 1.6 percent

Median spending expected to drop nearly 7 percent to $465, compared to $498 last year.

AAA estimates that most drivers will pay the cheapest gas prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2010. The national average is below last year's holiday weekend average of $3.42. Pump prices are not forecast to impact holiday travel plans. Drivers can find stations selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon in the vast majority of states.

The weather is already have an impact on travel, with flight delays and flooded or ice- and snow-covered roads in many places, mainly along the Eastern Seaboard. AAA's projections were issued before it became apparent that adverse weather would impact travel.

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