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More will travel this Thanksgiving; Lodge is fully booked

More people are expected to travel during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period, according to travel industry surveys.

And some of those travelers appear headed to Logan County and Mount Magazine State Park.

According to Park Superintendent Becky Bariola, the 60-room lodge and 13 guest cabins at the park are completely booked from Wednesday, Nov. 27 through Saturday, Nov. 30. Thanksgiving is Thursday, Nov. 28.

The strong holiday bookings at the park continue a trend of increased visitation that began in October.

“The park has been very busy. It’s been a good fall,” Bariola said. “For the month of October, we broke our revenue projections for the first time in four years. The pace has kept up in November.”

The restaurant at The Lodge at Mount Magazine State Park is also expected to be very busy this Thanksgiving. The restaurant will serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal next Thursday, Bariola said.

“There’s always a long line of people waiting to get into the restaurant,” Bariola said. “To help alleviate that, we’re going to open up the large banquet hall this year.”

The restaurant does not take reservations, Bariola said.

A new survey from TripAdvisor reveals that 39 percent of those surveyed plan to travel for Thanksgiving, up 7 percent from those that did in 2012 (32 percent). Of those traveling, 37 percent will fly, while 57 percent plan to drive to their Turkey Day destination.

Airlines for America, the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, last Thursday delivered its 2013 Thanksgiving travel forecast, projecting that 25 million passengers will fly during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period.

A4A, as the association is known, expects the number of passengers traveling from Friday through Dec. 3 to increase by 1.5 percent, or an additional 31,000 travelers per day, from 2012. Planes are expected to be more than 85 percent full on the busiest travel days, which are Wednesday Nov. 27 (2.42 million passengers), Dec. 1 (2.56 million passengers) and Dec. 2 (2.36 million passengers).

AAA will release its annual Thanksgiving travel forecast today (Wednesday).

According to the TripAdvisor survey, 46 percent of travelers plan to spend more on Thanksgiving travel this year compared to 2012, while 44 percent anticipate spending about the same. Fourteen percent plan to spend more than $3,000 while 21 percent expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,999 and 23 percent are budgeting between $500 and $999.

Shopping malls will be crowded along with roads and runways, as 45 percent of U.S. respondents plan to take a Black Friday shopping trip, a 12 percent increase from those that anticipated doing so in 2012.

“With a seven percent increase in those planning a Thanksgiving pilgrimage this year, it’s clear Americans are hungry for the holiday,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “As more than a quarter of travelers plan to depart the day before Thanksgiving, travelers with flexible schedules will be best served leaving Tuesday or earlier.”

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