Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends and gather together to enjoy each other's company. It's not a day that we wish to spend with people we don't know, stuck in traffic or an airport for hours on end.
So, if you're planning on heading out of Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley for Thanksgiving this year, be advised that you're among the 43.6 million Americans who will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to AAA's Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast.
According to AAA, that's a 0.7 increase in travelers from 2011, in which 43.3 million traveled.
Ninety percent-- or 39.1 million-- of those traveling for the holiday will do so by car-- so that means plan ahead for some extra congestion on Interstate 10.
Also, you'll want to budget a little more for gasoline than in years past. That's because in 2011, the average price of $3.32 a gallon was the most expensive average ever on Thanksgiving-- and AAA says it could be more like $3.40 a gallon this year.
What's more, Wednesday will be the busiest day headed out of town, as AAA says 45 percent of travelers will leave that day, while 36 percent will return on Sunday, and 25 percent will come back on Monday, Nov. 26.
Still, it seems that Americans are steadily putting more value on spending this national holiday with family, and believe the costs and congestion are worth it all, according to AAA.
“Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low in 2008 when only 37.8 million Americans traveled,” said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Since that year we have seen a steady increase in the number of travelers taking to the roads and skies for the holiday. Americans continue to find ways to economize their budgets so they can gather around the holiday table to carve the turkey.”
Here are some other takeaways from AAA's report:
- Air travel will decrease this year by 1.7 percent, as 3.14 million holiday travelers will take to the skies.
- Car rental rates are expected to increase by $10/day.
- Overall mileage traveled is expected to be less this year than last. The average distance to be traveled this year comes in at 588 miles, which is a decline of 16.7 percent from last year when travelers planned to log 706 miles.
What do YOU think? Is it worth the headache of traveling to spend the day with family? Or do you think it's better to stay in town? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!