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AAA says this Thanksgiving is expected to see the second-highest national travel volume in years, with air travel seeing the highest increase. Image: Andrew Weeks/Prairie Business

Travel numbers reflect positive economic trends

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - People across the country will be kicking off the holiday season - and the holiday travel season - this week as more than 55 million people are expected to hit the roads and airports for Thanksgiving.

Over the past 11 years the number of people who travel during the Thanksgiving holiday has been trending upward, according to AAA North Dakota. This season is expected to see the second-highest travel volume in the 19-year period since the organization started tracking holiday travel volume in 2000. 

Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel this holiday compared with last year, a 2.9% increase. 

A breakdown of the numbers, according to AAA, show that some 49.3 million people will travel at least 50 miles or farther from home by automobile this Thanksgiving, which is the highest number since 2005 and a 2.8% increase over last year. Another 4.45 million people are expected to fly, which is a 4.6% growth, and around 1.49 million people will be using other modes of transportation, including buses, trains and cruise ships, contributing a 1.4% increase over 2018.

Based on advanced travel bookings, most travelers are heading to warmer climates to spend the holiday. AAA said the numbers reflect positive trends in the economy. 

“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers,” Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, said in a prepared statement. “Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”