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Fewer Californians to Travel for Thanksgiving 2013

Avoid crowded roads on Wednesday. Eat turkey at home. Credit: Palos Verde Patch
Avoid crowded roads on Wednesday. Eat turkey at home. Credit: Palos Verde Patch
By Kari Hulac

Fewer Californians plan to travel this Thanksgiving, according to asurvey released by the American Automobile Association's Northern California chapter. 

More than 5.1 million California residents plan to travel 50 miles or more for the extended four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a 4 percent decrease from last year, according to the AAA survey. 

That includes 4.4 million who plan to travel by motor vehicle, a 4.6 percent decrease from last year, and more than 500,000 who plan to fly, a 4.9 percent decrease, the survey found.

However, don't get too excited, according to one survey last yearthe San Francisco Bay Area was second only to Los Angeles for having the worst day-before-Thanksgiving traffic congestion.

The Inrix ranking says drivers in San Francisco will have 32 percent longer drives, especially from 3:30 to 5 p.m., on Wednesday, and recommends that travelers try to get out of town Wednesday morning.

On the other hand, the survey found a 1.8 percent increase in those planning to travel by other means, such as boats or trains. 

"While travel projections are lower than last Thanksgiving, this year's travel forecast is still well above the 2008-2009 levels when the recession caused a drop in travel of more than 25 percent," said Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris in a statement. 

AAA found a smaller 1.5 percent decrease in the number of people planning to travel for the holiday nationally. 

The average West Coast family of four is expected to spend $681 over the holiday weekend, and those traveling by car will drive an average of 795 miles. 

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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