CHARLOTTE, N.C. (November 16, 2016)AAA Carolinas projects that 2 million Carolinians will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, with just under 1.4 million North Carolinians and 670,000 South Carolinians traveling. This represents a 1.9 percent increase over 2015. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 27.
This year’s increase in Thanksgiving travel is spurred by improvements in the economy during the second half of the year, including rising wages, increased consumer spending and overall strength in consumer confidence. North Carolina’s average price of gas is currently at $2.13 a gallon and South Carolina’s sits at $1.99 a gallon, both under the national average of $2.14. Last year, North Carolina’s average was $2.10 and South Carolina’s was $1.91.
“Despite recent increases in gas prices more Carolinians than last year are carving out time to spend with friends and family this Thanksgiving,” said AAA Carolinas President and CEO Dave Parsons. “With so many Carolinians hitting the roads this holiday we want to urge motorists to be safe and put down their mobile devices. Please disconnect and drive.”
Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving
The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive this Thanksgiving. The 1.2 million North Carolinians and over 600,000 South Carolinians planning a Thanksgiving road trip represents an increase of 1.9 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent, with 46,000 North Carolinians and 46,000 South Carolinians flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase only slightly this Thanksgiving, to 40,000 North Carolinians and 20,000 South Carolinians.
Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays for motorists due to its five-day length and the heavy traffic caused by the high number of travelers on the road. Last year, the number of deaths on North Carolina highways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend
reached 22 people, while South Carolina highways saw nine traffic fatalities..
AAA offers some simple holiday road survival tips for motorists:
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic
- Keep valuables in the trunk or covered storage area
- Have your roadside assistance contact information (like AAA) on hand in case an incident occurs on the road
- Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times, in case of emergency.
- Obey traffic safety laws: Wear your seatbelt. Don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive. Eliminate distractions behind the wheel.
Thanksgiving airfares, hotel rates and car rental prices mixed
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to increase 21 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $205 for a roundtrip flight for the top 40 domestic routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for an AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $123. Daily car rental rates will average $52, 13 percent lower than last Thanksgiving.
AAA will rescue thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving
Last year over the Thanksgiving holiday, AAA Carolinas rescued approximately 8,400 motorists, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists ensure their vehicles are in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility. Nearby locations can be found at AAA.com/Repair.
To estimate fuel costs, travelers can go towww.fuelcostcalculator.comto input starting city, destination, and the make and model of their car. The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android devices uses GPS n?avigation to help travelers map a route, find updated gas prices, view nearby member discounts and access AAA Roadside Assistance.
Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway
Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, travelers should download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can help map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more atAAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.