Printed on: November 22, 2012

More Thanksgiving travelers are driving


CHICAGO (AP) --Feeling the pinch of the sluggish economic recovery, many Americans setting out on the nation's annual Thanksgiving migration sacrificed summer vacations, relied on relatives for airfare or scoured the Web for travel deals to ensure they made it home.

It's not just tight family finances making travel tough. Airlines struggling to save on jet fuel and other expenses have cut the number of flights, leading to a jump in airfares. Those hitting the roads face high gas prices and rising tolls. Now, with talk of the nation sliding off a "fiscal cliff" come January, many travelers said they're accepting that sacrifices for pricey holiday journeys have become the norm.

"You become immune to it, I guess," said Chris Zukowski, a 43-year-old locomotive engineer from the Chicago suburb of Huntley, as he hugged his wife and three children goodbye at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and lamented he could not afford to join them on the holiday trip to New Jersey.

"You have to cut back on things just to make sure that you can afford to do stuff like this, so they can go visit grandma," he said, referring to his son and two daughters.