Consumer Watch: Thanksgiving travelers spending less this year

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 6:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS) -- The kickoff to the busy holiday travel season is just a few days away, and travelers will have a little more company on the roads than they did last year. But Americans will spend less on their trips, and stay somewhat closer to home. Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen has your Consumer Watch.

More Americans will hit the road this Thanksgiving, but they'll spend a little less.  That's according to AAA, which forecasts 43.6 million travelers for the holiday, an uptick of less than one percent over last year. 

“The factors that are behind these numbers relate primarily to the economy, and as we all know, the economy is still sluggish, but there is improvement,” said AAA President and CEO, Robert Darbelnet.

Average spending on Thanksgiving trips is expected to drop 56 dollars from last year. The average distance, down 16 percent. The vast majority of travelers will go by car, more than 39 million, with gas prices expected on par with last year's national averages. The number of air passengers slightly down, to just over 3.1 million.

Despite a few less travelers in the skies, fare watchers said don't expect last-minute deals. “If you haven't yet booked your holiday travel and you're looking to find that great airfare deal, for Thanksgiving weekend, you may be out of luck with just a week until the holidays, those few seats that are left on the plane are certainly going to be at a premium,” said Orbitz Senior Editor, Jeanenne Tornatore.

For infrequent fliers, the TSA urges reading up on security and screening procedures.

“We understand that holiday traveling can be stressful and that a great trip often begins with a positive experience at the airport,” claims TSA Administrator, John Pistole.

Be mindful of peak travel days, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after.

If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to: consumerwatch@whas11.com.

 

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