In what might be a bout of frugal family guilt, more South Carolinians are expected to hit the road this Thanksgiving than a year ago, AAA Carolinas said Monday.
Since cutting back on trips during the two-year-long recession, many folks appear ready to open their travel budgets this week for some turkey and stuffing with relatives, AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby said.
"People are making up for it," he said.
More than a few probably heard from their mothers after last year: Thanksgiving travel nationally fell by more than 25 percent in 2008.
This year, about 479,000 South Carolinians will drive for Thanksgiving, up by 15,500 from last turkey day, AAA Carolinas forecast Monday.
But drivers will pay more for fill-ups. Rising oil costs have pushed state pump prices to around $2.50 a gallon versus $1.80 last year.
But flying could be easier. About 2,500 fewer South Carolinians plan to take to the air.
Travelers have grown tired of flight delays and security hassles as well as baggage fees and holiday surcharges, AAA said.
"If you drive," Crosby said, "you can control your destiny more."
STESS: HOLIDAYS, DEBT
If getting to Grandma's doesn't stress you out, the thought of starting your holiday shopping- starting Friday - just might.
A lot more Americans are feeling stressed out by debt this holiday season, raising the likelihood they'll behave more like Scrooge than Santa:
- Fully 93 percent say they will spend less or about the same as last year, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.
- Half of those polled said they are suffering at least some debt-related stress; 22 percent say they're feeling it greatly or quite a bit - up from 17 percent last spring.
- Eighty percent say they will use mostly cash to pay for their holiday shopping - and that generally means buying less.
That's not good news for retailers: holiday sales account for up to 40 percent of annual sales. The National Retail Federation believes holiday sales will decline this year, but the drop won't be as steep as last year when the country was deep in recession.