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Thanksgiving Travel Spending and Timing Trends

November has arrived hot on the heels of Halloween, so if you haven’t locked in your autumn travel plans yet, you’d better hurry. Over the next two months, the holiday travel scene, both in the U.S. and abroad, is almost guaranteed to be a doozy this year. And, if the first 10 months of 2022 are any indication, travelers who will be flying to attend festivities are bound to encounter some challenges during the busy holiday season.

The first of the end-of-year holidays to arrive, of course, is Thanksgiving. If you’re set to travel for your Turkey Day gatherings, you’re probably wondering what awaits you this year, whether you’re going by land or air. Flight disruptions and understaffed airlines aren’t the only things impacting people’s travel plans for the upcoming holidays.


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The newly published results of The Vacationer’s Thanksgiving Travel Survey 2022 offer some insight into what Americans can expect this year. The timely study was conducted on October 25, 2022, with the aim of finding out how many folks plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as the impact of today’s record-high inflation rates and astronomical gas prices on their travel plans, and also how much money traveling to celebrate Turkey Day is likely to cost Americans.

Below, take a look at how American adults answered a few of those questions.

Key Takeaways:

— More than 43 percent of Americans (equivalent to 112 million U.S. adults) intend to travel for Thanksgiving this year. This number is slightly higher than the 109 million who indicated that they intended to travel for Thanksgiving last year.

— Nearly 29 percent of American adults say they will spend more than $500 to travel for Thanksgiving this year. By comparison, only 20 percent of Americans intended to spend more than $500 last year.

— Two out of every three American adults said that high levels of inflation are affecting their Thanksgiving plans. People realize that traveling to attend their Thanksgiving gatherings this year is going to cost more, whether it’s due to the rising cost of food, higher airfares or prices at the pump.

Which holiday do you intend to travel for, whether to attend a gathering or go on a vacation?

– Thanksgiving: 18.5 percent
– Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa: 18.2 percent
– Both: 24.8 percent
– Neither: 38.5 percent

Are high levels of inflation affecting your Thanksgiving plans this year?

– Yes, owing to increased food costs: 24.7 percent
– Yes, owing to increased travel costs (gas prices or higher airfare): 16.8 percent
– Yes, owing to both increased food costs and increased travel costs: 25 percent
– No: 33.5 percent

How much will you spend to travel for Thanksgiving this year (on gas, flights, hotels, tickets, etc.):

– $0: 39 percent
– $500 or less: 32.3 percent
– $501 to $1,000: 12.6 percent
– $1,001 to $1,500: 8.4 percent
– $1,501 to $2,000: 5 percent
– $2,000 or more: 2.6 percent

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