ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- An estimated 43.6 million Americans will take Thanksgiving trips this year, the fourth year in a row holiday travel has increased, says AAA.
The projected bump in trips greater than 50 miles to eat turkey and cranberry sauce is 0.7 percent more than in 2011, the nation's largest travel organization said in a statement released Tuesday.
That's a steady growth in travel since the number of Americans traveling the five-day Thanksgiving season fell 25 percent in 2008.
Even so, AAA says people will travel shorter distances and spend less money than last year.
Fewer people will travel by air this year, dropping to 3.14 million passengers from 3.2 million in 2011.
That decline will be offset by the number of people getting to their destination by car. About 90 percent of travelers say they will drive, an increase of 0.6 percent.
Median spending will fall 10 percent from last year, to $498.
The average price of gasoline nationally will drop to between $3.25 and $3.40 a gallon by Thanksgiving, the organization said, adding that gas prices should continue to drop through the end of the year.
AAA defines the Thanksgiving travel season as between Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 25.