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More Hoosiers driving to Thanksgiving dinner

If you’re trying to creatively stack a pumpkin pie, containers of mashed potatoes and a turkey in the trunk before your drive to grandmother’s house, you’re not alone.

More Hoosiers are opting for automobile travel this holiday season, travel officials said.

About 86,000 Hoosiers will travel by car over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 0.6 percent increase from last year, AAA officials said Tuesday.

In Fort Wayne on Tuesday, gasoline averaged $3.48 a gallon, up from $3.28 a year ago, according to AAA. The state average is $3.43.

But when it comes to the holidays, one thing is certain, AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher said. People will be traveling to see their loved ones, no matter what the price at the pump.

“Median spending is down about 10 percent this year, but what that tells us is that Americans continue to prioritize travel, but are also finding ways to economize,” she said. “We’re seeing an increase in people traveling overall, but it’s a modest increase.”

An additional 70,000 Hoosiers are expected to travel by air – a 1.7 percent decrease from last year, AAA officials said.

That decline is due in part to the convenience of traveling by automobile, Mosher said.

Another reason could be the cost of traveling fees paid by those hopping aboard a plane.

Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports at Fort Wayne International Airport, said most of the airport’s fliers are business travelers, so the holidays are a relatively slow time for travel.

“Over the holiday period, we have a lot of people who are home with their families for the day of, or the days before and after,” Hinderman said.

As of Tuesday evening, the 19 flights departing daily from Fort Wayne International Airport were 85 percent full, on average, for the holidays, he said.

“That’s fairly typical for this time of year,” Hinderman said.

“We’re seeing a 2.39 percent increase in our year-to-date figures over last year, so we do have some growth,” he added.

Hoosier travelers can expect fewer stops for road work and better traffic flow, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.

INDOT has limited road restrictions beginning today and continuing through Monday to help keep Thanksgiving travel safe. Some closures will remain on large projects that cannot safely reopen, INDOT said.

jcrothers@jg.net

Holiday travel tips

•Make sure you are well rested; a fatigued driver is a dangerous driver
•Avoid tailgating; remember the two-second rule
•Make sure everyone is buckled up
•Avoid using electronic devices and stay focused on driving
•Don’t drink and drive
•Move over and slow down for emergency and highway service vehicles
Source: Indiana Department of Transportation

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