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AURORA, Ill. — Approximately 35.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the 2015 Labor Day holiday weekend, according to an AAA Travel forecast. This marks the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2008, and a 1-percent increase over 2014.
While 30.4 million travelers (86 percent) will celebrate the end of summer with a final road trip, air travel is also projected to grow 1.5 percent. More than 2.6 million are expected to travel by air, which is the largest volume of air travel since 2007 for this holiday period.
The Labor Day holiday travel period runs from Thursday, Sept. 3 to Monday, Sept. 7.
Highlights from AAA's 2015 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:
- Historically, when Labor Day weekend falls later in the calendar, Americans have shown less inclination to travel. As this year's Labor Day falls on Sept. 7, the latest possible day it can occur, overall travel growth potential is somewhat dampened.
- Rising wages and falling gas prices have helped boost disposable income, which has risen 3.5 percent over last year, but some consumers are using that money to save and pay debts rather than travel.
- Travel by automobile will increase by 1.1 percent, with 30.4 million travelers hitting the road.
- Nearly 7.4 percent of travelers (2.6 million) will travel by air, a 1.5-percent increase from last year.
"A strong labor market coupled with greater job security and rising home prices have all helped to increase disposable income," stated AAA Chicago spokesperson Beth Mosher. "Though some consumers remain cautious, these positive indicators are driving a slight increase and allowing millions of Americans to travel on one last summer getaway."
Drivers are expected to see the lowest Labor Day gas prices in at least five years. Despite recent price spikes in the Midwest, drivers in Illinois and Indiana will pay the lowest gas prices since 2010 and 2009, respectively.