HARTFORD, CT — An estimated 3.3 percent more Americans will be hitting the road this year for Thanksgiving than last year, according to AAA’s Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast. AAA expects the 2017 holiday weekend to see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005, with 2.25 million New Englanders set to get away — an increase of 3.5 percent over last year.
“Consumer confidence and an improving labor market are the two significant factors influencing Thanksgiving travel this year,” said Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in greater Hartford. “Across New England there will be more people on the roads and more travelers taking to the skies as well.”
The increase in Thanksgiving travel across New England mirrors the increase nationwide, with a projected 51 million Americans expected to travel a distance of 50 miles or more over the holiday.
Almost two million New Englanders, or 87 percent of travelers, will be hitting the roads. That’s an increase of 3.3 percent over last year, despite the fact that gas prices are about 40 cents higher.
An estimated 89 percent of all travelers — 45.5 million — are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
But it won’t be cheap. Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014.
Connecticut’s average price of gas was $2.7 per gallon on Sunday. The national average of $2.5 per gallon is 37 cents more than last November.
“Even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2014, they are not so high as to enter into the ‘go, no-go’ decision,” Parmenter said.
Those choosing to fly will find prices more affordable.
Travelers taking to the skies will pay the lowest average in five years for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. At $157, on average, that is a 23 percent fare drop year-over-year. It’s the cheapest airfares have been since 2013.
According to AAA, almost 250,000 New Englanders will be flying over the Thanksgiving holiday — an increase of 5.5 percent over last year.
However, those renting a vehicle once they land will find prices have increased.
At $70 per day, the daily car rental average is 34 percent more than last year and the highest rate for Thanksgiving weekend since 2013. AAA speculated that the increase “may be attributed to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles in the fleets with added features and benefits.”
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires, and battery-related issues.
For travelers who are using Metro-North they are operating on a modified schedule beginning Wednesday, Nov. 22.
Starting Wednesday around 1 p.m., the railroad will begin running “early getaway trains.” Also, because of reduced ridership, some evening trains may be cancelled or combined.
On Thanksgiving Day they will operate a modified weekend schedule to include additional trains for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Holiday Parade. Starting on Friday, Nov. 24, they will be operating on a weekend schedule.
For more specific information about departures and arrivals visit the MTA web site.