Cheaper Thanksgiving travel

PHILADELPHIA - November 25, 2008 - While a Mid-Atlantic AAA survey predicts a slight drop in overall travel this Thanksgiving, falling gas prices could change that.

Last summer, when gas peaked at about $4 per gallon, the cost of fuel for a 600 mile round trip drive from Philadelphia to PIttsburgh would cost about $100. Today, in the same car, the fuel bill would be under $50.

Because of that, Dwayne Crooms of Springfield, Pa., is expecting lots of company.

"A lot more people actually coming to visit now gas prices are down. When they were up, they were more concerned about gas prices. Now they are not as concerned," Crooms said.

High prices kept Regina Hoffman from regular trips to the Poconos, but that is changing as the holidays arrive.

"I used to go every weekend, or every other weekend. Then it was once a month, but now I am going back pretty much at will," Hoffman said.

Earlier this year, airlines cut capacity to boost profits. But, higher fares coupled with a plunging economy has left empty seats, according to travel manager Amanda Perrone.

"What we are really seeing is that the planes are wide open, so the airlines are really dropping their fares to get the planes full, especially domestically," Perrone said.

Airlines have quietly cut airfares. What was maybe a $300 to $400 seat six weeks ago now can, in some cases, be had for half that.

There will be deals beyond the holidays, too. If your dates are flexible, a round trip base fare to Florida in January can be had for less than $125.

"People just aren't travelling, and airlines are doing whatever they can to get people to leave their home base," Perrone said.

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