Thanksgiving travel stats, most popular destinations

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 12:35pm

With Thanksgiving only weeks away, TripAdvisor, the world largest travel website, conducted a survey to determine America’s Thanksgiving travel plans. 

  • 39% are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 32% who did so last year.
  • 57% intend to drive to their Thanksgiving destination, while 37% plan to fly even though airfares are on the rise.
  • The majority of people plan to travel on Wednesday, November 27 (27%)
  • 64% plan to travel during off-peak hours to avoid heavy traffic
  • 45% plan to take Black Friday shopping trip, up by 12% from last year
  • 70% of respondents admit to being stressed by Thanksgiving travel. Top sources of frustration include: congested roadways, crowded airports/long security lines, inclement weather
  • 57% of travelers will use their mobile devices this year to assist with Thanksgiving travel. 85% will use their smart phone and 47% will use their tablet.

46 percent of travelers plan to spend more on Thanksgiving travel this year compared to 2012, while 44 percent anticipate spending about the same:

  • 14% plan to spend more than $3,000
  • 21% expect to pay $1,000-$2,999
  • 23% are budgeting $500-$999

Shopping malls will be crowded along with roads and runways, as 45 percent of U.S. respondents plan to take a Black Friday shopping trip, a 12 percent increase from those that anticipateddoing so in 2012.

“With a seven percent increase in those planning a Thanksgiving pilgrimage this year,it’s clear Americans are hungry for the holiday,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “As more than a quarter of travelers plan to depart the day before Thanksgiving, travelers with flexible schedules will be best served leaving Tuesday or earlier.”

Navigating the stresses of "Turkey Day" travel:

  • 70% of travelers admit to being stressed by Thanksgiving travel; travelers’ top sources of frustration: congested roadways, crowded airports / long security lines, and inclement weather
  • 64% plan to travel during off-peak hours to avoid heavy traffic
  • The busiest day for Thanksgiving travel will be Wednesday, November 27 (27%)
  • 16% will eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving, with their top cited reason being to avoid cooking
  • 8% of travelers will seek to relieve stress by opting to pay for an accommodation rather than stay with family and friends

Tapping technology for Thanksgiving:

Fifty-seven percent of travelers plan to use a mobile device to assist their Thanksgiving travel. Among the group, 85 percent will turn to a smartphone, while 47 percent will consult their tablet.

The top five reasons travelers plan to utilize their devices:

  • Check the weather (70%)
  • Use navigation (51%)
  • Researchrestaurants (40%)
  • Checkflight status (36%)
  • Check-in to a flight (35%)

Not everyone staying at mom’s:

While 44 percent of those traveling for Thanksgiving plan to stay at the home of family or friends, 34 percent will hunker down in a hotel, and eight percent will rest in a vacation rental.

Most popular Thanksgiving destinations:


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