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43.6 Million to travel for Thanksgiving
Holiday travel continues steady climb; regional growth to slightly outpace nation
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Tips for travelers going by air:
• Arrive early and allow plenty of time for check-in and security.
• Be prepared for delays. Bring your own snacks, pack a good book or two, and download movies to watch.
• Pack light. Bring only carry-on luggage if possible. Follow Travel Security Administration guidelines when packing liquids, medications, food and gifts. Guidelines are online at
• If you or someone in your group has a disability or medical condition that could make security screening difficult, call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 at least 72 hours before traveling.
• Have a luggage tag on everything. Some flights may require passengers to check even their carry-on luggage.
• If traveling with children, accept assistance from the airlines. Some offer early boarding for families with children. Many airports also offer family lanes at security checkpoints. And make sure any strollers or child carriers have a luggage tag.
 Information from K-State at Salina.

The number of Americans going over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house and elsewhere over Thanksgiving is on the rebound, the American Auto Mobile Association reported this week.
AAA projects 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. In the Kansas region (which also includes Missouri, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa) travel is expected to increase by 0.9 percent.
This increase marks the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent.
“Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low in 2008 when only 37.8 million Americans traveled,” said AAA Allied Group Kansas Region and Public Affairs Executive Vice President Jim Hanni. “Since that year we have seen a steady increase in the number of people traveling for the holiday. Americans continue to find ways to economize their budgets so they can gather around the holiday table to carve the turkey.”  
Highlights from this year’s 2012 AAA Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast include:
• Ninety percent of travelers or 39.1 million to travel by automobile, an increase of 0.6 percent. Regionally, auto travel is projected to increase by 0.7 percent.
• Holiday air travel to decline to 3.14 million travelers from 3.2 million in 2011.
• Median spending (including transportation/fuel, lodging, food shopping and entertainment) is expected to drop 10 percent to $498 nationally, compared to $554 last year. Spending remains consistent with historic averages as Americans continue to prioritize travel while finding ways to economize. Regionally, the total is projected to be $277. Shopping and transportation make up the largest percentage of the expenditures.
• Average distance traveled to decline to 588 miles from 706 miles, due in part to a decrease in the number of air travelers and Americans desire to economize budgets.
• The top activities engaged in over the weekend include visiting with friends and relatives, shopping, dinning and watching sports. These hold true both nationally and regionally.
Economic conditions still loom large, Hanni said. Despite mild improvements in unemployment, the housing market and greater consumer optimism, the economy is still struggling to keep its head above water. “While the recovery in the forecast region which includes Kansas is continuing on a slow path, it is at a slightly faster pace than the nation as a whole.”
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.  AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays.
According to Hanni, Kansas makes up 11 percent of the region. There aren’t enough survey responses from Kansas alone to give only state totals.