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More Kansans to hit the road for Thanksgiving
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Kansas roads and skies, like the rest of the nation, should be busier this Thanksgiving weekend than a year ago, travel experts said.
“Travelers are eager to hit the roads and create lasting memories by sharing Thanksgiving with family and close friends,” said Jim Hanni, AAA  regional executive vice president for public and government affairs. “Consumers can expect busy highways and airports as people make their way home during this important time of year.”
The American Automobile Association is anticipating  42.5 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more, an increase of 4 percent compared to 2010. Approximately 3.4 million travelers will fly to their holiday destination, a 1.8 percent increase from last year.
Auto travel is also expected to increase by 4 percent over last year with 38.2 million Americans driving to Thanksgiving destinations. This accounts for 90 percent of all holiday travelers.
According to Hanni, Kansas falls into the AAA’s North Central Region which accounts for 3.67 million of the travelers, a 3.6 percent rise. That means, he said, 17.7 percent of the region’s population will be on the move.
Of those, 3.37 million will travel by car (3.4 percent increase),  1.67 million by air (1.2 percent increase) and 127,000 by other modes of transportation.
Steady economic recovery and pent up demand from consumers who had to forego their plans in the past are the driving forces behind the increase in travelers this year.
“The majority of travelers will be filling up their gas tanks for their trip. The current national average price for self-serve regular gasoline is $3.38 per gallon, according to
In Kansas, prices averaged $3.21, and ranged from $3.02 at Levenworth to $3.54 at Oberlin. Prices are hovering around $3.29 in Great Bend.
 Travelers can also expect the following travel trends and behavior during the Thanksgiving holiday period:
• Airfare over the holiday is expected to increase 20 percent from last year with the lowest round-trip airfare averaging $212;
• Hotel rates are also expected to increase this year, up 6 percent to an average of $145 per night compared to $136 per night last year.
• Consumers are expected to travel an average of 706 miles to their destination, a decline of 13.5 percent from last year’s average of 816 miles.
• On average, consumers are projected to spend an average of $554 this Thanksgiving, a 12 percent increase from last year’s $495.
AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. For purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more from home in one direction during the period from Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 27.
The complete AAA/ IHS Global Insight 2011 Thanksgiving holiday forecast can be found at