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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nearly 30 percent of Americans, or 94.5 million people, are expected to travel 50 miles or farther from home during the year-end holiday season, up 0.6 percent from the 94 million who traveled that distance in 2012, according to AAA.
This will mark the fifth consecutive year of increases and the highest travel volume recorded for the season. The year-end holiday period is defined as Saturday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 1.
Highlights from the 2013/2014 AAA Year-End Holidays Travel Forecast include:
- Ninety-one percent of travelers, or 85.8 million people, will travel by automobile, a 0.9-percent increase from last year.
- Twenty-seven percent of Americans will take a road trip during the holiday season.
- Holiday air travel is projected to decrease slightly from 5.61 million people to 5.53 million people.
- Median spending is expected to increase slightly from $759 to $765.
- The average distance traveled is expected to increase by 45 miles to 805 miles.
"While economic growth has stagnated and consumer confidence has fallen, Americans will not be Scrooges when it comes to traveling this year," said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. "AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the New Year."
In the past decade, holiday travel volume only saw a change greater than 5 percent once, in 2007, due to the beginning of the recession.
"Of all the travel holidays, the year-end holiday season remains the least volatile as Americans will not let economic conditions dictate their travel plans to celebrate the holidays," Doney added.