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AAA Predicts Travel Decline This Thanksgiving Season; US Economy Cited

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a matter of days, activity on the roads, the rails, and in the skies will pick up as travelers head out to join family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.

But a travel survey released today by AAA suggests that the fragile economy may be keeping some people closer to home.

Jenny Robinson of AAA Midatlantic says the travel advocacy group’s nationwide survey projects a slight dip in travel this Thanksgiving holiday — about a 1½ percent decline from the previous holiday period. She says similar trends are expected here in the Philadelphia region.

Even so, Robinson says, some 43½ million people still will be making holiday treks of 50 miles or more.  She says the slow economy and the recent government shutdown were cited as reasons many are staying home.

Surprisingly, though, Robinson says, the survey found that while the automobile will still be the top choice for the ride, there is a significant increase expected in two other key modes.

“Nine-and-a-half percent increase in the number of people going by bus or by rail,” she noted.

And who will be leaving the driving to Amtrak, or Greyhound?

“Younger adults may not own a car yet and they may not have the money for an airline ticket,” she said.

Robinson says fewer are expected to fly, but those who are planning on it expect to take off earlier for destinations — with 79 percent saying they’ll hit airports for departures as early as this coming Monday.

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