AAA projects 43.6 million Americans, including 578,500 Oklahomans, will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled nationwide last year and 1.0 percent more among Oklahomans. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined by AAA as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.

Wednesday before the holiday is expected to be busiest travel day Because the Thanksgiving holiday falls on a Thursday, many are off from work the Friday after, giving travelers the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends. AAA asked intended travelers which days they would depart for and return from Thanksgiving trips. The majority of travelers plan to leave the Wednesday before the holiday (45 percent) and return the following Sunday (36 percent) with another 25 percent expecting to return on Monday.

AAA estimates the national average price of gasoline will drop to between $3.25-3.40 a gallon by the holiday, similar to last year’s average of $3.32, which was the most expensive average ever on Thanksgiving. Despite the historically high prices paid by motorists this year, the national average has declined by nearly 40 cents a gallon since early October and should continue to drop through the end of the year. The national average price of gas for Thanksgiving from 2007-2011 was $2.75 a gallon. For national/state/city gas prices or