Thanksgiving by the Numbers and Top Travel Tips from AAA


Phoenix. Nov. 20, 2012. This week, nearly 858,000 Arizonans will be making pilgrimages by road and sky to celebrate Thanksgiving, according to AAA’s annual travel forecast. 

The following table compares state and nationwide travel information for the upcoming holiday compared to last year:


Travel Statistics




Arizona’s average fuel price



+5.2 percent

Total Arizona travelers (all modes)



+0.4 percent

Total U.S. travelers (all modes)

43.3 million

43.6 million

+0.7 percent

Arizona auto travelers



+0.3 percent

Arizona air travelers



-2.0 percent

Average AAA Three Diamond hotel rate (nationwide)



-1.0 percent

Average rental car rate (nationwide)



+27 percent 

Arizona average miles traveled



-14 percent

Arizona median spending



-8.4 percent



Before leaving home for the holiday, AAA encourages travelers to consider its top three tips for turkey day travel:

  • Lighten up! On the gas pedal, that is. If you’re one of the nine out of ten Arizonans hitting the road for your Thanksgiving destination, ease up on the gas pedal. Every 5 mph over 60 mph is like tacking on an extra $.24 per gallon. This means driving 65 mph rather than 60 mph will cost you $3.697 per gallon, and driving 70 mph rather than 65 mph will cost you $3.937 per gallon. To further save fuel, lighten your load and reduce the weight of your vehicle.


  • Pack patience. With 43.6 million Americans traveling this holiday, the roads and skies are sure to be stuffed. Check road and flight status before leaving home, and allow extra time for traffic and airport security.  AAA’s survey revealed that Wednesday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 25 will be the busiest travel dates. Avoid departing or returning home on these days if possible. 


  • Go Mobile! AAA’s free mobile app helps guide you when traveling, or in everyday life. It offers turn-by-turn directions, provides breakdown help, and lists savings near the user’s location .The app is free and available for members and non-members alike. For more information or to download, visit

Thanksgiving travel projections are derived from IHS Global Insight, which conducts special research for AAA. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.