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Thanksgiving Travel Up From Last Year

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Thanksgiving time means lots of turkey and lots of travel.

AAA predicts 43.6 million people nationwide will travel 50 miles or more this holiday season.

That’s up 0.7% from last year.

90% or 39.1 million will go by automobile which is an increase of 0.6%.

“Gas prices have been on a falling trend over the past several weeks and that’s going to be a factor,” said Doug Shupe with AAA Texas.

“For most families traveling by car is more economical and more convenient. Families can leave when they want to and return when they want to,” said Shupe.

This is the fourth year in a row that there’s been in an increase in holiday travel according to AAA.

Shupe says Texas is among the top 10 states with the lowest gas prices with an average of $3.16 a gallon.

While more people are on the move, fewer are using airplanes as their mode of travel. Air travel is slightly down nationwide compared to last year according to AAA.

While air travel dipped a bit nationwide, that’s not the case at North Texas airports.

DFW International and Dallas Love Field are expecting increases.

DFW says it expects 100,000 more passengers this holiday stretch which is up four percent from 2011.

“That’s a pretty significant uptick in the number of travelers we’re seeing,” said Cynthia Vega with DFW International.

“We’re encouraged by that because as people return to the skies obviously there’s a big impact on the local economy. Those are dollars people are spending in this airport which effects surrounding communities.”

Erin Pottebaum and her family are caught their connecting flight at DFW on en route to Antigua.

“Its definitely crazier. It takes a little bit more time.”

Travelers are now spending more and more time at the airport so DFW is working to give families more to do while they wait.

A brand new Starbucks just opened in Terminal D. It’s been a big draw since it’s the only eatery in that terminal’s lobby area before entering thru security.

DFW is also striving to become the nation’s healthiest airport.

In partnership with the American Heart Association, the airport has a new walking area that’s lined with artwork on the flooring as you walk.

There’s also a brand new yoga studio.

“Just drop by,” said Vega. “There are mats provided and an instructional video to guide you. It’s an opportunity to sit down, stretch out and shake off that holiday stress.”

It’s often reported that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day but DFW International says that’s not so.

According to their numbers Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the 11 day holiday period, followed by the Friday before Thanksgiving.

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