Talking Turkey: Californians are only prepared to travel 73 miles to visit family this Thanksgiving, due to high gas prices

While COVID changed how we celebrated the last two Thanksgivings, it appears that a return to a more normalized holiday celebration may have to wait another year.

That is, according to a huge poll of 7,233 Americans by Gunther VW Coconut Creek, a Florida-based car dealership, which revealed that millions of people will be scaling down their Thanksgiving plans this year due to the rise in inflation and gas prices in particular.

The study found that the average California family is only prepared to travel just 73 miles to visit friends and family this Thanksgiving. This is compared to a national average of 82 miles. Anything further than that distance, then they will opt for a more low-key celebration in their own homes.

Broken down by state, Vermonters are the most unwilling to travel — they are only prepared to travel 21 miles in an attempt to save money. However, anyone with family living in Rhode Island or North Dakota would be more likely to receive a visit, as people in both states were willing to travel the furthest, at 150 miles.

The survey also revealed other interesting results about how inflation will change this year’s celebrations. Should they have to travel far to visit friends and family, 19 percent said they would suggest friends or family to contribute to their travel costs (gas essentially). And perhaps the high cost of gas is the reason two-fifths of respondents say they are more likely to spend Thanksgiving with local friends and neighbors this year, rather than family who live further away.

Perhaps an indication of how priorities have changed in recent years, half of people surveyed admit that they would prefer to stay home this Thanksgiving to use the saved gas money on Black Friday deals. Encouragingly though, 1 in 5 said that even if they can’t see family face-to-face this year, they will have a virtual Thanksgiving to make up for it.

And has been widely reported, food has also been significantly affected by price rises. Twenty-one percent of survey respondents stated that the higher cost of ingredients would impact on their plans. They said they are prepared to cancel the traditional Thanksgiving menu of turkey and all the trimmings, and opt for a cheaper and low-cost meal instead. Which would also explain why over a third of those hosting Thanksgiving this November plan to invite less guests, and of those who are cooking, a whopping 68 percent say they expect to have less leftovers available, given the high price of food.