AAA predicts 1 in 4 Americans to travel this holiday season

NEWS RELEASE FROM AAA:

AAA projects 93.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, an increase of 1.6 percent over the 91.8 million people who traveled last year. This increase brings holiday travel figures to within half a million of the decade high mark seen during the 2006/2007 season. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Saturday, Dec. 22 to Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Highlights from AAA 2012/13 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast include:

·Year-end holiday travelers to total 93.3 million, an increase of 1.6 percent from the 91.8 million that traveled last year.

· 90 percent of travelers (84.4 million) to travel by automobile, representing 26.7 percent of the total U.S. population.

· Holiday air travel expected to increase 4.5 percent to 5.6 million travelers from 5.4 million in 2011.

·Median spending expected to increase almost 6 percent to $759, compared to $718 in 2011 with transportation costs consuming about 29 cents of every travel dollar.

·Average distance traveled to increase to 760 miles round-trip from 726 miles, an expected result with an increase in air travelers.

·Travel volumes for the year-end holidays are generally very stable, only once in the past decade has there been a change in travel volume greater than 5 percent

In Wisconsin, more than 1.8 million people are expected to travel for the year-end holidays, a .4 percent increase over 2011, according to the AAA forecast. Of those, 1.6 million plan to travel by auto while more than 100,000 will travel by air. Travelers in Wisconsin will find gas prices averaging $3.32 per gallon, 8 cents more than a year ago, but down nearly 70 cents from our spring high.

“The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation,” said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Primary economic indicators all show modest improvement from last year and AAA is projecting an increase in the number of Americans stuffing their stockings with airline tickets and hotel reservations.”

“As we enter the New Year, one unknown for travel is the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and the resulting uncertainty related to near-term tax and benefit changes. Having these items unresolved complicates many travelers’ ability to develop an accurate household budget as they plan for future spending and saving decisions. It is important that Congress and the President work together to quickly resolve the situation for the good of the nation,” said Darbelnet.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

AAA estimates the national average price of gasoline will slowly drop through the end of the year and average between $3.20-3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day. Gas prices dropped about 50 cents a gallon on average from September through early December, but remain at record highs for this time of year. AAA does not expect gas prices to have a major impact on travel volume, but consumers could have more money to spend on holiday shopping, dining and entertainment if prices drop through December as expected.

Automobile travel remains dominant mode of transportation, air travel increases

Approximately 90 percent of travelers (84.4 million) plan to travel by automobile this holiday season. This is a 1.3 percent increase over the 83.3 million people who traveled by auto last year. Air travel is expected to increase 4.5 percent as 6 percent of travelers or 5.6 million will take to the skies.

Those traveling by air will find lower airfares according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. For the year-end holiday period the average lowest round-trip rate is $203 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, a 3 percent decrease from last year. Approximately 3.3 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.

Hotel rates to increase slightly, car rental rates increase 41 percent

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, year-end holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase 2 percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $129 per night compared to $126 last year. Daily car rental rates will average $56, compared to $40 last year.

Average travel distance increases

According to the survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during holiday period is expected to be 760 miles, further than last year when travelers planned to log 726 miles.

Median spending up nearly 6 percent; top activities are dining and spending time with loved ones

Median spending is expected to be $759, a 6 percent increase compared to the expected median spending of intended holiday travelers ($718) last year.

Dining (67 percent) and spending time with family and friends (66 percent) and are the most popular activities planned by travelers. It is not surprising that during the holiday season shopping is the third most popular activity with 57 percent expecting to shop. More than one-third (34 percent) of holiday travelers plan to sightsee during their trips.


The comment sections of our web set are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from the viewers but we are not obligated to post comments we feel inappropriate or violate our guidelines. Here are some of the criteria you should follow when posting comments:

Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. Children and families visit this site. We will delete comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.

We will delete all comments using hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our web site.

Comments should not attack other readers personally.

We will delete comments we deem offensive, in bad taste, or out of bounds. We are not obligated to post comments that are rude or insensitive.

We do not edit user-submitted comments.

As a host WEAU 13 News welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However, we have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason WEAU 13 News reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 183361351 - weau.com/a?a=183361351
Gray Television, Inc.