Your bags are packed, your stomach is empty, and you’re ready to hit the road – Thanksgiving, here we come! Despite a turbulent economy, Americans are bound and determine to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, regardless of the travel costs. According to AAA, roughly 4.2 million people will be traveling this Thanksgiving weekend, up 4 percent from last year’s number.
Costs are on the rise too – the average lowest round-trip airfare ticket is expected to be 20 percent higher than in previous years for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Mid-range lodgings, like AAA Three Diamond level accommodations, are nearly 6 percent higher to book than last year, and demand is tight.
The only travel option that’s dropping in price this season is Thanksgiving car rentals. While you’ll shell out more for gas (the national average is in the $3.38 a gallon range, up almost $0.50 from last year), rental vehicles themselves will actually cost you less. The weekend daily car rental rates national average is about $37 this year, down a staggering 11 percent from last year’s rates.
So Why The Change?
Nearly 80 to 90 percent of car rental business is generated by business travel. With fewer business travelers taking to the streets this week, car rental agencies are left with a large inventory of cars. What’s more, folks that are flying to meet family rarely require an airport rental; family members are far more likely to pick up and return travelers to the terminal.
Car rental companies are also holding onto their inventory longer. Five years ago, rental companies purchased most of their cars from U.S. automakers, and would then sell them back after six months in order to upgrade. Now, thanks to reorganizations at GM and other car manufacturers, most of the big American companies no longer offer buy back opportunities. The tsunami in Japan has also caused rental companies to keep a tighter hold on their fleet, as worries of inventory shortages have become apparent.
Don’t Wait to Secure your Reservation
Just because the prices are lower, doesn’t mean these rentals will last for long. Airport car rental reservations are up this Thanksgiving season, says Rob Hibbard, vice president at Enterprise Holdings. Rental giants like National, Alamo, and Enterprise are all seeing a more than 10 percent increase in rentals over last year.
Take Advantage of These Low Rates
Low Thanksgiving rental rates are great for travelers stuck navigating busy roadways. AAA estimates that 90 percent of holiday travelers will use the nation’s roadways this weekend, resulting in gridlock traffic in city’s from coast to coast. Instead of adding to the wear and tear of your vehicle, reserve a rental. Opt for a current year model in order to ensure great performance and comfort.
Car rentals have always been an integral part of the Thanksgiving holiday, providing travelers with a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation alternative. Search out car rental comparison engine today for great last minute deals on available rentals.
From the CRX family to yours – have a safe and happy Thanksgiving travel day!