FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- AAA forecasts 50.9 million Americans -- including nearly 1.3 million in New Jersey -- will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The 2017 Thanksgiving weekend will see the highest travel volume since 2005, when 58.6 million Americans left their homes. The holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

“Thanksgiving kicks off the busy holiday season, and more Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs, for AAA Northeast. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry.”

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Driving remains the most popular mode of travel. By the numbers:

Automobile

  • New Jersey – 1,131,382 (88.9% of all travelers), a 3.2% increase from 2016.
  • Nationally – 45.4 million (89% of all travelers), a 3.2% increase from last Thanksgiving.

Air

  • New Jersey – 110,624 (8.7% of all travelers), a 4.9% increase from last year.
  • Nationally – 3.95 million (8% of all travelers), a 4.9% increase from one year ago.

Train, Bus or Other 

  • New Jersey – 30,621 (2.4% of all travelers), a 1.1% increase from last year.
  • Nationally – 1.48 million (3% of all travelers), a 1.1% increase from 2016.

Higher gas prices won’t deter drivers
Most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, yet the vast majority of holiday travelers (89.3 percent) are still planning a holiday road trip. New Jersey drivers are paying an average of $2.57, 35 cents higher than the same time last year.

Average gas prices in NJ over Thanksgiving weekend for the past five years:

  • 2016: $2.21
  • 2015: $1.96
  • 2014: $2.71
  • 2013: $3.27
  • 2012: $3.54

AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.