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More than a third of Americans planning to travel for Thanksgiving

Despite high airfares, among those traveling nearly 40 percent will fly

NEWTON – TripAdvisor announced the results of its Thanksgiving travel survey of more than 1,500 U.S. respondents. Thirty-five percent of travelers are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 34 percent who did so 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.

Most popular U.S. Ccties for Thanksgiving:
The top U.S. destinations travelers will visit:
– New York City
– Boston
– Los Angeles
– Orlando
– Philadelphia

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, and
– 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.”