WASHINGTON, DC (AP)-- Around 43.6 million Americans were expected to journey 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday, just a 0.7 percent increase from last year, according to AAA's yearly Thanksgiving travel analysis. After a couple years of healthy post-recession growth, this year's numbers suggested it will take a stronger economy to lift travel demand significantly, the travel organization said.
More people are driving, fewer are flying and the average distance traveled was expected to be nearly 17 percent -- or about 120 miles -- shorter than a year ago, it said.
In Va. and North Carolina, AAA says there should be a few more drivers on the road because of a significant drop in the price of gasoline.
AAA Carolinas says there will be a 1 percent increase in the number of people driving during the four-day holiday. Spokesman Tom Crosby attributes the increase to a 54-cent drop in the price of a gallon of gasoline at North Carolina pumps since mid-September.
Traveling in South Carolina will be even less painful. The average price of $3.13 per gallon there is the cheapest in the country.
Construction projects in both states re suspended during the holiday.
Va. State Police will be out in force keeping you safe on the roads. Last year, 11 people died in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving weekend.
If you're flying, Airlines for America expects nearly 24 million travelers to fly from Friday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 27. That's up narrowly from a year earlier. Last year's tally was flat from 2010. But traffic on the nation's airlines is still 10 percent below the peak travel years of 2006 and 2007.
For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full, the trade group says. That would be a record for the holiday. Sunday, Nov. 25 is projected as the busiest travel day, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Monday, Nov. 26.