Media Contact: Cynthia Harris
Emeryville, CA., November 18, 2011
Although traveling for pleasure has proven to be a daunting budgetary task for many families these past few years, that’s not stopping Californians from following their hearts this Thanksgiving holiday. According to AAA’s latest travel survey, many Californians are choosing to visit family and friends instead of trimming their travel budgets during the upcoming holiday celebration.
AAA Northern California’s latest travel survey predicts more than 5.3 million Californians plan to travel 50 miles or more this extended, four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That represents an overall increase of 4.1 percent when compared to last year’s figures.
“Many Californians have foregone holiday family gatherings over the past three years,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “This year the overwhelming desire to travel has taken hold and the desire to create lasting family memories is proving to be more important than staying home for the Thanksgiving weekend.”
According to AAA, the state’s roadways will be heavily congested as more than 4.5 million Californians are projected to travel by motor vehicle during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This represents a 4.1 percent increase when compared to last year’s figures. Despite higher airfares, more than 620,000 holiday travelers are forecasted to fly, which is an increase of 1.9 percent when compared to 2010. More than 145,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains. This represents an increase of 14.9 percent when compared to last year’s figures.
Nationally, AAA forecasts more than 42.5 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the four-day weekend. This represents more than a 4-percent increase when compared to last year’s travel statistics.
An average West Coast family of four is projected to spend an average of $906 over the holiday weekend. Families who travel by car are likely to drive an average of 647 miles over the four day holiday weekend. AAA’s Leisure Travel Index reveals that AAA Three Diamond lodgings are likely to increase six percent from a year ago with an average price of $145 per night. AAA Two Diamond lodgings are expected to be seven percent higher, with an average room costing $103 per night.
The number of people traveling by air is expected to increase this year, despite a 20 percent jump in fares during the holiday weekend, according to AAA. This Thanksgiving weekend, the average lowest round-trip rate is projected to be $212 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Car rental rates will decrease 11 percent to an average of $37 per day over the holiday weekend.
As part of AAA’s ongoing commitment to provide safety and protection to motorists, AAA’s Tipsy Tow Program offers a free tow for drinking drivers from 6:00 p.m. on November 24 (Thanksgiving Day), until 6:00 a.m. on November 25, in Northern California, Nevada, and Utah. Members and non-members alike can call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow of up to five miles.
“Just tell the AAA operator, ‘I need a Tipsy Tow,’ and a truck will be on its way,” said Harris. “Service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and his or her vehicle to the driver’s home.”
AAA Travel Assistance
Vacation planning can be challenging. By partnering with a professional AAA travel counselor, you receive the following.
• Countless hours of research time invested by your counselor to make sure you are getting the best travel experience for your budget.
• Access to additional vacation options sold only through travel agencies.
• Frequent travel updates, price changes, information on document requirement changes, travel alerts, and continuous monitoring of the overall travel landscape.
• Personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge that allows them to offer tips on places to shop, dine, and sightsee. It’s irreplaceable value added to the vacation price.
AAA Travel recently launched AAA Vacations®. It is a collection of escorted, hosted, and independent tours, cruises and vacation packages to destinations throughout the world. AAA Vacations are customized tours, cruises, and packages designed to deliver unique, engaging, and exclusive vacation experiences to AAA members. Visit your nearest AAA office or AAA.com for more information.
AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA earlier this year as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.
AAA Travel is the nation’s largest travel organization. AAA Travel offers trips, cruises, tours, and vacation packages throughout the world. Call (888) 937-5523 for more information or visit us at your local AAA Travel office or online at www.aaa.com/travel.
AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services, and consumer discounts to nearly 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.
M-F 7am-9pm, Sat 7am-7pm