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Thanksgiving Travel Expectations and Values

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With nearly 24 million travelers on the road and in the skies this Thanksgiving weekend, Travel + Leisure gives you the lowdown on the busiest travel days, how much that flight will cost you, and where you can find hotel values this holiday season. 

What to Expect:

A TripAdvisor® Thanksgiving travel survey projects that 35 percent of travelers are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 34 percent who did so last year. Thirty eight percent of those traveling for Thanksgiving are planning to fly, while 58 percent will drive.

Related: Top Holiday Travel Strategies

U.S. airlines expect the number of passengers traveling from Friday, November 16 through Tuesday, November 27 to increase by 150,000 people, slightly higher than last year (but below peak years of 2006-2007), according to Airlines for America. The busiest travel days are expected to be the Sunday after Thanksgiving (2.4 million), the Wednesday before (2.3 million), and Monday November 26 (2.3 million), according to Airlines for America, with planes close to 90 percent full on those dates.


Travelocity Thanksgiving data shows that the average round-trip domestic airfare this Thanksgiving is $386, up nearly nine percent from last year.
 
According to Hotwire, Americans are still holding off on booking their holiday travel. By late October, 78 percent of U.S. adults planning to travel for Thanksgiving had not yet booked their airfare, car rental, or hotel.
 
Values for Holiday Travel:
 
Hotel Chandler in New York’s Holidays on Ice package includes two VIP Admission tickets to Bryant Park skating rink (with skate rentals, bag check service, hot chocolate and additional VIP non-skater tickets with a special discount available for additional skaters), as well as 10 percent off at Celsius restaurant at Bryant Park. A minimum two-night stay is required. Doubles from $259/night Thanksgiving week and $309/night Christmas week. Available from November 16 through December 30, 2012.
 
Four Seasons Las Vegas has room rates from $179/night over Thanksgiving and Christmas (plus $25/night resort fee). An added bonus: newly renovated guestrooms will be available at this rate beginning December 8, 2012.
 
At the InterContinental Bonita Playa Resort in Panama, the starting rate for Thanksgiving weekend is $190/night plus tax and for Christmas week, it’s $230/night plus tax.
 
The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans’s Papa Noel rates start at $199/night the weekend before Christmas and over Christmas Eve/Christmas. Expect the hotel to be trimmed from head to toe with giant wreaths, hundreds of feet of garland, and dozens of individual Christmas trees, including a forty-foot version in the hotel’s Courtyard.
 
The new Gale South Beach & Regent Hotel in Miami debuts in early December. Grand opening rates over the Christmas holiday begin at only $199/night.


More From Travel + Leisure:
 
America’s Worst Airports for Flight Delays

Best French Fries in the U.S.

America’s Most and Least Attractive People

Best Affordable Beach Resorts

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