Americans will travel 1.4 percent more this Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared to last year as consumer sentiment improves after the global economic crisis, travel and auto group AAA said Wednesday.
"Although far too many Americans remain unemployed or under other financial stress, AAA's projected increase in Thanksgiving travel from one year ago is another hopeful sign that economic conditions are stabilizing and improving in some areas," AAA's director of Travel Services, Glen MacDonell, said in a statement.
Some 38.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the holiday weekend. Eighty-six percent of Thanksgiving travelers — 33.2 million Americans — will travel by car, a 2.1 percent increase from last year.
The bump in Thanksgiving auto travel is a continuation of a gradual recovery in the U.S. travel industry since the start of the summer, MacDonell said.
However, a combination of higher fares and lower airline capacity will result in a 6.7 percent decrease in air travel, AAA said. About 6 percent of Americans plan to travel by air, according to AAA.
Americans traveling by other means of transportation, including trains and buses, will increase 1.2 percent, AAA said.
Last year, Thanksgiving travel in the world's top oil consumer plummeted 25.2 percent due to the housing and financial crisis.