Despite high Colorado gas prices, family remains a priority at Thanksgiving
Denver, November 13 – AAA Colorado projects that 737,000 Coloradans will journey 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend despite gas prices that are at a historic high for Thanksgiving Day. This is an increase of less than one percent over the number of travelers last year. Gas prices in Colorado over the Thanksgiving holiday are projected to be 10 cents higher than last year’s average of $3.40 and 53 cents higher than the three-year average (2009-2011) of $2.97 a gallon.
Spending time with friends and relatives will be the primary draw for Colorado travelers with 69 percent citing these visits as the primary reason for Thanksgiving travel. Dining, also at 69 percent, and shopping at 50 percent will also be popular activities planned by travelers. However, median spending will be lower this year at $569 for this upcoming holiday period, 8 percent less than the $621 spent in 2011.
Wednesday before the holiday is expected to be busiest travel day
The Thanksgiving holiday is unique falling on a Thursday every year. Many people are off from work the Friday after, giving travelers the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends. AAA Colorado asked intended travelers which days they would depart for and return from Thanksgiving travel. Among those surveyed, the majority of travelers plan to leave the Wednesday before the holiday (45 percent) and return the following Sunday (36 percent) with another 25 percent expecting to return on Monday, November 26. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the day before Thanksgiving and the Saturday following have the highest number of cars travelling along the I-25 and I-70 corridors.
Automobile travel remains dominant travel choice, air travel decreases
Approximately 87.5 percent of travelers or 648,000 Coloradans plan to travel by automobile this Thanksgiving. This is a slight 0.5 percent increase over those who traveled by auto last year. There is an apparent shift towards shorter-distance holiday trips. The average distance traveled by Coloradans during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is expected to be 607 miles, which is a decline of 32.5 percent from last year when travelers planned to log 900 miles.
Air travel is expected to decrease 1.8 percent as 66,000 holiday travelers will take to the skies. Those traveling by air will find lower airfares according to AAA’s Leisure travel Index. For the Thanksgiving holiday the average lowest round-trip rate is $188 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, an 11 percent decrease from last year.
Hotel rates relatively flat, car rental rates increase 27 percent
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Thanksgiving holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to decrease one percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $145 last year. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $47, compared to $37 last year.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2012 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
AAA Colorado has more than 550,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services, as well as member exclusive savings.