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    Holiday Travel Expected to Drop

    Economy puts damper on American's travel plans.

    NEW YORK -- Like everything else about this year’s holiday season, travel is expected to be down this year compared to last.

    For the first time since 2002, AAA (American Automobile Association) reports the number of Americans who said they planned to travel at least 50 miles from home for the holidays dropped this year. Nearly 63.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Christmas holiday travel period, a decrease of 1.4 million (2.1 percent) from last year’s total of 65.3 million. This is the first decline in Christmas holiday travelers since 2002. AAA projected year-to-year decreases in the number of travelers for all five of the major travel holidays this year (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas).

    "The economic downturn of 2008 eroded the discretionary income many Americans would have spent on travel and, for some, altered their travel plans throughout the year," said Gail Weinholzer, director of public affairs for AAA Minnesota/Iowa. "However, those traveling this holiday season can take advantage of declining hotel rates and fuel prices."

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