Terrorism fears have eased and more people are traveling and flying this Thanksgiving holiday, travel industry experts say.
"It's been a year since Sept. 11, and I think people are just more willing to travel now," said Amanda Millard, spokesman for AAA Kansas in Topeka.
The automobile association estimates 35.9 million Americans will take a trip 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. The AAA also foresees air travel increasing by 6 percent as 5.1 million people board airliners.
"People have regained confidence in travel," said John Novotny, manager at Travellers Inc., 831 Mass.
Novotny said inquiries and sales began increasing at the first of the year at his travel agency.
Nationwide, gasoline prices will average $1.42 for unleaded regular, according to AAA. Currently in Lawrence the average price is $1.39, which is about 30 cents higher than a year ago.
The Kansas Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will be especially watchful for careless drivers. Officers and troopers will pay special attention to seat belt and child restraint enforcement, officials said.
Thanks to a special fund provided through the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol will be able to pay overtime to allow extra troopers to patrol over the holiday weekend.
"By driving sober, fastening safety belts and making sure children are buckled up, Kansans should have a safe holiday season," Highway Patrol Supt. Col. Don Brownlee said.
Travelers in most parts of the country won't be hindered by bad weather, said Darrel Smith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.
The only areas where there could be snow or rain by Wednesday or Thursday will be in southern Nevada and northern Arizona and some parts of the East Coast, he said.
As for Lawrence, it will be a little cooler than usual Thursday with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s, Smith said. But things can change.
"You are still looking at something six days away," Smith said Friday. "A lot of things can happen."
Some travelers also are making travel plans for the December holidays, Novotny said. There is still time to get airline tickets. Novotny said he had seen round-trip air fares at less than $200 in recent days.
"There are some awfully attractive air fares out there right now," Novotny said.