More people traveling this Thanksgiving

Posted at: 11/20/2012 10:15 PM
Updated at: 11/20/2012 11:25 PM
By: Don Hudson

They are spending less money and they are driving shorter distances this year. However, Thanksgiving travelers are still out in force and hitting the road.
Sandra Reid-Deloatch will be traveling this year, but it will not be her usual trip. "I normally get on a plane and go to Virginia Beach to visit the other grandkids I have there." Instead she will be getting in her car and going 310 miles instead of the usual 590 miles. And yes, it's a financial decision. "We just decided this time I would just go to New York and do the five hour ride and it is less money."

According to AAA, Sandra is not alone. 90% of Thanksgiving travelers will drive. The number flying is down almost 2% compared to last year. And AAA says the distance they travel is down this year about 120 miles or 17%.

Mike Trevino knows all about cutting back. "It's expensive. I can only really afford to put $10 or $15 in at a time."

News10NBC caught up with Mike at a Rochester gas station. He says money is just too tight and gas just too expensive to hit the road this year. "Obviously, it's very expensive to travel."

And according to AAA those who are traveling are spending less money to do it. Last year the average Thanksgiving trip was $554. This year it is $498. Still, Brenda Cahill with AAA in Pittsford says a lot of people are still hitting the road. "We have people headed to Pennsylvania, South Carolina even people heading to Florida for the holiday."

And for the fourth consecutive year Thanksgiving travel is up. AAA anticipates 43.6 million travelers, about a one percent increase from 2011. And Cahill says on Wednesday most of them will be on the road. "It's starting to slow down for us. I think they will all be on the highway tomorrow."

The 43.6 million people expected to travel is an increase of 0.6% from last year. And compared to 2008, when just 37 million traveled, it represents a 6 million person increase.

The average price for a gallon of gas during Thanksgiving from 2007 to 2011 was $2.75. This year, the average prices is about a dollar more than that.

According to numbers provided by AAA and those found on www.newyorkgasprices.com, a gallon of unleaded in the Rochester area you will set you back between $3.69 and $3.85. If you go West toward Buffalo its about the same. And if you go east toward Syracuse or Albany, it is about a dime less.