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AAA looks for 55 million+ to travel for Thanksgiving

If you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, expect a lot of company on the roads and in the air.

AAA estimates that nationwide, more than 55 million travelers are making plans to take a trip of 50 miles or more this coming holiday period. Officials say this will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking that in 2000.

AAA of Western and Central New York spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey says lower unemployment and some improvement in the economy may be contributing factors.

"People have some disposable income to spend, and we’re looking to see a lot of people looking to make family memories," Carey said. "That’s the trend we’re seeing with travel right now, where families want to come together and especially at Thanksgiving share that meal together, so we expect Thanksgiving to be a great year for families to really celebrate the holiday."

Carey says most of those travelers will be on the highways.

"The majority of travelers will travel by car," Carey said. "However, air travel is expected to be up about 5% compared to last year, so no matter which way you’re traveling,  you’re going to want to make sure you give yourself extra time on the Thruway, and then also extra time to get through security in the airports."

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day for travel, particularly in the afternoon as commuters are getting out of work, and all the holiday travelers and college students are coming into town. 

If you are driving, you’ll find gas is cheaper than last Thanksgiving. It’s now averaging $2.67 a gallon in the Rochester area, down from $2.81 a gallon a year ago.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.