51 million Americans traveling this week, AAA says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The numbers are in: more Americans will travel this Thanksgiving than the past 12. The travel organization AAA released its annual holiday travel forecast Thursday. 

It predicts nearly 51 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles to celebrate the holiday. That's a 3 percent increase from last year, and the highest number since 2005. 

Travelers can expect to pay more for gasoline than years past, but less for airfare. 

AAA expects 89 percent of travelers to get to their destination by driving. To avoid getting caught in traffic, experts say you should stay off the roads the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, especially in the afternoons. That's when normal workweek commuters and travelers are on the road at the same time. 

"Plan ahead. Try to make sure you're getting out the door early in the morning, if possible. If you can travel on the holiday, that would be even better for travelers," explained Tamara Johnson with AAA.

Travel experts said the high number of travelers is a good indicator people are earning money and feel comfortable spending it. 

"A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season," said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing, in a press release.

These are the top 10 Thanksgiving travel destinations, according to AAA.

    1    Orlando, Florida
    2    Anaheim, California
    3    New York City, New York
    4    Honolulu, Hawaii
    5    Las Vegas, Nevada
    6    Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
    7    Cancun, Mexico
    8    San Francisco, California
    9    Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
    10  Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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