The fourth Thursday of November is almost here, meaning people across the nation are preparing to travel for Thanksgiving. In Idaho, the vast majority of those getting out of town for the holiday will be hitting the road.
Between Wednesday, November 22 and Sunday, November 26, around 265,000 Idaho residents will be heading somewhere for Thanksgiving. Nationally, almost 51 million people plan to travel – the most since 2005.
AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde gives several reasons why so many people plan to get out of town for the holiday, and all are linked to the end of the Great Recession.
“Consumer confidence is really riding high, lower unemployment, more people getting good jobs, and more people willing to travel and take on debt to do so,” he says. “People are just deciding that it’s time, and that trip they’ve been putting off is going to happen.”
Conde says 89 percent of Idaho travelers will drive to their holiday destinations. He says it has to do with the rural nature of the Mountain West region and gas prices sitting just a little higher than the national average, which is fairly low.
As for travel tips for drivers, Conde reiterates something logical that seems to have faded in the digital era.
“We can’t say enough: Don’t blindly follow directions, even a GPS,” he adamantly says. “A road that isn’t well-traveled or maintained should be a cause for alarm and people should turn around.”
The road less traveled: a good idea, but not all the time.
“It’s better poetically than it is in reality,” says Conde.
According to AAA Idaho, Thanksgiving travel plans are up this year by 3 percent in the state.
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