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AAA: Georgia Thanksgiving travel expected to increase

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

For the first time since 2007, Thanksgiving travel is expected to increase in the Peach State, said a spokesperson for American Automobile Association (AAA) Auto Club South.

Jessica Brady said overall travel is expected to increase 11.2 percent, from 2009, in the state, with more than 1.2 million Georgians venturing 50 miles or more away from home, between Nov. 24, and Nov. 28.

More than 1.1 million Georgia residents will be hitting the road in automobiles -- an increase of 11.7 percent from last year, according to Brady. In addition, regular retail gasoline in Georgia is expected to hold an average price between $2.75, and $2.85 per gallon, during the holiday weekend.

"This is great news," said Brent Hubele, vice president of AAA Travel. "Not only is travel up across the board, but it's a sign consumers are more confident and willing to take time off, spend money to travel, and visit with friends and family this holiday weekend."

Air travel will increase by 3.2 percent, with 42,233 Georgia residents flying through the skies, Brady added.

Furthermore, only 14,749 Georgians will travel by bus or train.

Overall travel in the U.S. is expected to increase 11.4 percent, from 2009, with more than 42.2 million travelers, said Brady.

AAA findings concluded that, although U.S. travel is expected to increase, individuals only expect to spend $1 extra this year than last, said Brady. The average median spending is $495 for this holiday weekend, she added.

The total spending was grouped in two categories--transportation and pleasure, the AAA Auto Club South spokesperson said.

"Thirty-two percent of total spending is expected to go to transportation costs and 38 percent towards shopping and dining," Brady said in a prepared statement. "In addition, the average distance traveled is expected to increase by only one mile, for an average of 816 miles round-trip."

According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, added Brady, airfares are expected to increase 4 percent from last year, with an average round-trip rate of $170. Daily car rental rates are expected to drop by 4 percent, an average rate of $42, she added.

Brady said AAA's travel projections are based on the economic forecasting and research of IHS Global Insight. The economic research and consulting firm is based in Boston, Mass., she said.