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Celebrating Road Trip Day

The Roadtripping blog celebrates the fourth Thursday in November as Road Trip Day.

Although not all travel falls precisely on that day, there are more people on the road for leisure purposes on the days immediately before and after than any other time of the year.

The American Automobile Association predicts 42.5 million people will travel at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving next week, about 90 percent of them by car. That’s 4 percent more than last year, but many are involuntary roadtrippers who were squeezed out of flying by airlines that have reduced the number of flights and raised prices.

On an average per day basis, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year, says Jessica Brady, a AAA spokeswoman. The Florida Highway Patrol puts all its sworn personnel, incuding administrative employees who usually sit behind a desk, on the road. Last year the FHP issued 12,000 traffic tickets over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

(The Roadtripper is traveling only 26 miles on Road Trip Day, leaving the highways to the amateurs -- and to the FHP.)

While the number of people on the road will increase, so will the cost: Room rates at budget and mid-priced hotels are up 6 to 7 percent over last year, the Associated Press reports. Gas prices — usually at their lowest levels now through January, Brady said — are up nearly 20 percent. The only cost that has declined, according to AP, is rental cars.