Cost of Thanksgiving Travel This Year: The Ups and Downs

Cost of Thanksgiving Travel This Year: The Ups and Downs

Even if you're not into deal-hunting on Black Friday, you've probably noticed by now that at least one thing will be cheaper to buy heading into this holiday weekend: gas for your car.

The average gas price slipped to $2.81 and falling this week, just in time for Thanksgiving travel.

For perspective, that's the lowest average since 2010, according to AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, and 46 cents per gallon cheaper than last Thanksgiving. Since that's an average, gas may cost even less in your area when you fill up for your holiday road trip — about 46.3 million Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, and nearly 90 percent of us will take the car. (BTW, is your car road-trip ready?)

(Chart via AAA)

But don't expect to see that fuel discount carry over to other forms of travel.

Travelers can anticipate spending about 1 percent more than last year to buy a plane ticket anytime Wednesday through Sunday, according to AAA.

Hotel and car rental prices are also up, about 8 and 10 percent respectively. (Here's how to get a cheaper car rental, if you're up for holiday haggling.)

Click to see: When is the best time to buy a plane ticket?

It may be too late to score maximum savings on airfare for holiday trips. But if you're already planning that mid-winter getaway after the holiday stress subsides, you need to know these details on the best time to buy an airplane ticket.

Trying to do the math in your head and figure out the cheapest way to travel in general? Hint: It's not (typically) by plane. But before you write off flying, check out this cost-comparison infographic by reporter Cynthia Wilson, who breaks down the price of four popular transportation methods to/from top destinations around the U.S.

If all this travel planning stresses you out, maybe this is the year you should host Thanksgiving. We've got some tips on that too, both how to decorate for the feast and how to avoid a holiday meltdown — literally.

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