Holiday travelers hit roads

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Michael Sommermeyer's Thanksgiving plan goes like this: Load his wife and children into their Ford Taurus, hand his teens an iPad stocked with movies and drive 15 hours - from Las Vegas to Texas.

Sommermeyer would not have it any other way.

Lost in the frenzy over new airport inspections is the fact that 94 percent of holiday travelers will reach their destination by road this year. For some, a snarled freeway and $3-a-gallon gasoline is a welcome respite from the madness of air travel.

Roughly 39.7 million will travel by road this year, a 12 percent increase from last Thanksgiving, according to a AAA travel survey of 50,000 U.S. households conducted during the week of Oct. 25.

With more people traveling for the holiday this year than last, the numbers who chose to fly also went up. Just over 1.62 million holiday travelers are flying the skies, a 3.5 percent increase from last year, AAA said.

"The economy is being perceived as turning around," AAA spokesman Michael Geeser said.

The average lowest round-trip airfare is expected to cost $176 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, AAA reported. Car rental rates, however, could cost an average of $42 over the holiday weekend, down 4 percent from last year.


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