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Thanksgiving Travel: More Floridians Expected To Be On The Road And In The Sky

Nov 17, 2017
Originally published on November 16, 2017 3:59 pm

If you’ll be hitting the road this Thanksgiving you’ll have plenty of company, with an estimated 2.6 million Floridians expected to travel 50 miles or more.


That’s an increase of 80,230 people, representing a 3.2% rise over last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Airports are expected to see an even bigger increase. AAA is forecasting a 4.5% jump among Floridians as compared to last year, with 190,72 Sunshine State residents expected to take a flight. 

Related: Airport Delays And Flight Tracking

If the forecast proves accurate, it would be the biggest air travel year in Florida since 2007, when 220,000 Floridians took to the skies.

The forecast for increased travel comes despite higher gas prices. Prices surged 13 cents in three days earlier this month. Last year on Thanksgiving Day, the average price for a gallon of regular in Florida was $2.10. As of Wednesday the average was $2.52.

“Although it will be more expensive to drive to Grandma’s house compared to recent years, the current price at the pump is not high enough to deter Floridians from taking a trip. Most people have already made their travel plans, and will not cancel them for moderate shifts in gas prices,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins in an email to WJCT News.

When it comes to Thanksgiving travel, Orlando tops the list in at least two regards. AAA says Orlando is America’s most popular travel destination over the holiday, while Hertz says it is expected to be the busiest airport in the nation in terms of car rentals.

Top Ten Thanksgiving Destinations, According To AAA

1.)    Orlando, Florida

2.)    Anaheim, California

3.)    New York City, New York

4.)    Honolulu, Hawaii

5.)    Las Vegas, Nevada

6.)    Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

7.)    Cancun, Mexico

8.)    San Francisco, California

9.)    Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

10.) Fort Lauderdale, Florida

50.9 million American are expected to travel over Thanksgiving with 89% going by car, 8% taking flights and 3% going by other means such as buses or rail.

If you're going to drive, here's a sobering fact: An estimated 330,000 Americans will have car trouble. The leading causes are flat tires, battery-related issues and lock-outs, according to AAA. 

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

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