Thanksgiving travel plans: by the numbers

In a recent TripAdvisor® Thanksgiving travel survey of more than 1,500 U.S. respondents, 35 percent say they are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 34 percent last year. Although airfares are on the rise, 38 percent of those traveling for Thanksgiving plan to fly to their destination, while 58 percent intend to drive.

The following statistics are among those traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday:

Peak Thanksgiving Travel Days:
31% – Thanksgiving Day, November 22
28% – Wednesday, November 21
19% – Earlier than Monday, November 19

Half of travelers will head home on Sunday, November 25 or later.

Distances Traveled for Thanksgiving:
41% – Traveling more than 500 miles
26% – Traveling between 100-300 miles
18% – Traveling 300-500 miles

70 percent will drive at “off-peak” hours to try and avoid the worst of the Thanksgiving holiday traffic.

Effect of Rising Airfares
Forty-seven percent of travelers said rising airfares impacted their Thanksgiving travel – here are the top three ways they were affected:
41% – Booked their flight early
35% – Will drive to their destination instead of fly
3% – Still waiting for prices to come down

What Travelers Plan to Spend on Thanksgiving Travel
Thirty-eight percent will spend more on Thanksgiving travel this year than in 2011, 46 percent will spend the same, and 10 percent will spend less. Among those traveling, 46 percent will spend $500 or less on their Thanksgiving travel.

Where Travelers are Staying for Thanksgiving:
While at their destination:
47% – Will stay at the home of family or friends
33% – Will hunker down in a hotel
8% – Will kick back in a vacation rental

Appetite for Technology
Among those traveling for Thanksgiving, 47 percent will use a smartphone or tablet device to plan or assist in their Turkey Day travel.

The top uses for smartphones or tablet devices during Thanksgiving travel include:
80% – Checking the weather
51% – Researching restaurants
51% – GPS navigation
38% – Checking the status of a flight
27% – Researching a destination

“More than a third of Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving, and for some the journey is as much a part of the tradition as the turkey,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. “Even with rising airfares, travelers will find their way to see family and friends for the holiday, whether it’s booking early or driving instead of taking to the skies.”35% are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 34% who did so last year.