Idaho AAA: "Expect large crowds" of Thanksgiving holiday travelers

This also marks the eighth consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel in MI as more people take to the nation's roads, skies, rails and waterways.

AAA is projecting that almost 51 million Americans will travel next week - the highest number in more than a decade.

It is the sixth consecutive year air travel has grown during the holiday, and now accounts now for 7.8 percent of all travel, its highest share since 2010, AAA said.

More than 50 million Thanksgiving revelers are expected to hit the road this year, marking the holiday's busiest travel weekend since 2005, according to AAA's annual travel forecast released Thursday.

AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the USA during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip. The national average is at $2.54 - a full 37 cents higher than past year, according to AAA. "Oil prices reached 2-year highs last week, causing the sudden jump at the pump".

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The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 26. Today, the average is $2.58, but AAA expects the price will still be lower than what drivers were paying earlier this month.

"When consumer confidence is high, more people are willing to travel, even if it means taking on debt", says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. At $157, on average, that is a 23 percent fare drop year-over-year.

Just under 4 million US travelers will fly this year, an increase of almost 5 percent and the largest number since 2007.

Cheaper airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013. Travel by other modes of transportation will increase about 1.2 percent this Thanksgiving in the Great Lake State, with over 45,000 travelers choosing cruises, trains and buses as their mode of travel. Nationally, 89 percent of travelers - 45.5 million - will go by auto, which is 3.2 percent higher than a year ago.