Thanksgiving is Going to Cost More This Year

November 21, 2011

More Americans are estimated to spend Thanksgiving away from home this week compared to 2010, and it’s going to cost them. In fact, no matter where you spend Thanksgiving, it’s expected to be more expensive this year.

AAA forecasts that 42.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday week, a 4 percent increase from last year. In Illinois, 2.23 million residents are expected to travel, a 3.8 percent from 2010, with two million going by car and 179,000 by air.

“This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year,” said Brad Roeber, regional president of AAA Chicago. “Memorial Day travel was statistically flat while Independence Day and Labor Day travel experienced decreases of 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.”

O'Hare airport

Chicago's O'Hare Airport will be one of the busiest airports in the country this week.

If you are one taking to the sky this holiday, expect to dish out up to 20 percent more for your airfare than last year’s rates. And, even though less Americans are flying this year than last year, the planes will be packed and seats will be hard to find as airlines have reduced capacity and limited the number of seats available for sale.

So you have decided to drive to your destination? AAA says the average price of regular gasoline in the Chicago area on Monday was $3.55, 49 cents higher than it was at this time last year.

And, once you get there, your hotel room will cost you an average of $145 a night, 6 percent more than the $136 average in 2010.

Considering just staying at home in your Chicago real estate? Well, that’s going to cost you too.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is estimating that the high prices of food will set the average family back 13 percent more for their Thanksgiving meal this year over last year.

That’s the largest increase since the AFBF started keeping track in 1986.

So? What’s a struggling American to do?

“As consumers weigh the fear of economic uncertainty and the desire to create lasting family memories this holiday,” said Roeber of AAA Chicago, “more Americans are expected to choose family and friends over frugality.”

Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Categories: Economy

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