By CHRIS JACKETT
DEARBORN – It’s that time of year where families get together, stuff themselves with food and watch the Detroit Lions struggle through a football game.
According to locally based, AAA it will also be a big few days for travelers.
The automotive insurance company said Nov. 16 that it estimates 1.3 million Michiganders will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday. The figure is nearly 9 percent higher than last year, contributing to the 11 percent national increase of 42.2 million Americans who are expected to travel today through Sunday.
“While travelers remain cautious with household budget and discretionary spending amid high levels of unemployment, many are in a better financial position this Thanksgiving than a year ago,” AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner said in a statement. “This improvement, along with a strong desire to spend time with family and friends, is expected to propel a significant increase in Thanksgiving travel.”
AAA’s study figures 94 percent of Michigan residents will use their personal vehicles for travel, which comes at a time when gas stations have again broken the $3 per gallon boundary. Despite gasoline costing 42 cents more per gallon than it cost last year, the number of personal drivers increased 7 percent from 2009.
Other forms of transportation saw declines, with air travel dropping 2 percent to 4 percent of Michiganders, while all other travel – such as train, bus and boat – holding onto the final 2 percent.
(Contact Chris Jackett at [email protected])