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AAA Projects 92.3 Million Americans to Travel during Year-End Holidays
Modest economic recovery, pent-up demand spurring increased travel
AAA anticipates busier roads and skies during the Christmas/New Year holiday period with 92.3 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to 2009. Auto travel is expected to increase by 3.2 percent over last year with 85.7 million Americans driving to holiday destinations. Approximately 2.75 million travelers will fly to their holiday destination, a 2.8 percent increase from last year.
Growing consumer confidence, modest economic recovery and pent-up demand continue to drive travel increases, including for the year-end holidays.
“AAA has experienced an increase in travel throughout 2010 and the upcoming holidays are no exception,” said Jacklyn Ghergurovich, AAA spokesperson. “Families and friends are eager to head out of town for a relaxing holiday vacation.”
The majority of travelers, about 93 percent of Americans, will be filling up their gas tanks for their trip. The current national average price for self-serve regular gasoline as of Wednesday, Dec. 15 is $2.98 per gallon, according to AAA. In Connecticut, the current average retail price for regular gasoline is $3.23 per gallon, up 12 cents from last year.
This Christmas/New Year’s holiday travel period, travelers can also expect:
- The lowest round-trip airfare over the holiday is expected to average $174 for the top 40 U.S. air routes.
- Holiday travelers are expected to travel 1,052 round trip miles from home, which is 33 percent more than last year’s average.
- Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond properties are also expected to increase this year, up 5 percent to an average of $125 per night compared to $119 per night last year.
- On average, consumers are projected to spend an average of $694 for the year-end holidays.
AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA earlier this year as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. For purposes of this forecast, the Christmas/New Year holiday travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more from home in one direction during the period from Thursday, Dec. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 2. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010 Year-End holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.
AAA provides travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services to 480,000 members locally and 52 million members nationwide. As the largest leisure travel agency in North America with 1,100 full-service offices, AAA provides members and non-members with a range of travel services and products from publishing and distributing maps and guidebooks to booking and planning leisure vacations. For more information about AAA, members and non-members can visit one of eight offices in eastern Connecticut, go online to AAA.com or call 860-236-3261.
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