If driving is part of your Thanksgiving plans, you won’t be alone. In fact, you’ll be part of an expected record number of Americans piling into the family car, sport-ute or minivan heading off on your holiday adventure.
AAA predicts that 50.9 million Americans will travel over the holiday, a 3.3% increase over last year and the highest total since 2005. The group claims a growing economy and low unemployment are the motivators for getting on the road for the long-weekend holiday.
The vast majority of travelers — more than 45 million — will travel by car between now and Sunday, according to AAA, while about 4 million will fly, a 5% increase.
AAA and research firm IHS Markit base the forecast on recent and predicted growth in the economy, consumer spending, household wealth and other measures. The increase in driving comes despite a 50-cent-per-gallon jump at gas pump this year compared with last year.
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The national average for a gallon of regular is $2.56, up from $2.16 a year ago. In addition to paying more for gas, you’ll likely pay more to rent a car and a hotel room for your journey. To offset that, use apps like GasBuddy to help you find cheaper gas prices and other discounts, AAA noted.
While gas prices are up, conversely, air fares are at their lowest levels in five years. Trade group Airlines for America believes the busiest air-travel day will be the Sunday. The group offered a few tips for making your flying experience easer.
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They claim that TSA security lines are shorter for early morning flights. Additionally, certain credit cards will allow you to check your bags on an airline at now charge, saving you as much as $50 a bag depending upon the airline.
Mommy Points travel blogger Summer Hull suggested to the Associated Press checking the perks on your credit card. In addition to those free checked bags, you may get discounts on in-flight food and drinks, lounge passes or other goodies.
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Kids 12 and under don’t need TSA Precheck to use the shorter lines if they’re with a parent who has Precheck. Safety experts advise buying a seat for babies and toddlers, but if you’ve got a “lap child” under 2 who is flying free, bring a birth certificate copy because airlines in case they airline checks.