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Labor Day Travelers Expected to Increase by 10%

All transportation types projected up from last year’s slide.

by on Aug.26, 2010

More than 31 million people will reach their destination by driving.

AAA today projected the number of Americans traveling this Labor Day holiday weekend will increase 9.9% from 2009, with approximately 34.4 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home.

Last year, 31.3 million Americans traveled during the Labor Day holiday. The 2010 Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 2 to Monday, September 6.

AAA travel agents are continuing to report strong increases in the number of travelers making advanced reservations. Hotel, car and vacation package reservations for the upcoming Labor Day weekend are up over ten percent compared to last year.

“While media reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, many Americans are still interested in taking one more trip as the summer travel season comes to a close,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services.

The increase in travel for Labor Day appears to be the result of economic improvement over the past year, AAA claims. While job growth has been disappointing, gross domestic product, household net worth and consumer confidence have increased, while consumer debt has decreased.

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Go By Car?

In addition to economic data, the date of the Labor Day holiday is another variable considered in the forecast. The earlier the holiday falls in September, the more travel tends to occur.

Although the growth in Labor Day travel is predicted to be strong at 9.9%, had the holiday fallen earlier in the month the forecasted number of travelers would likely be even higher, according to AAA.

Air and car trips to increase

Trips by automobile are expected to increase with 91% of travelers – 31.4 million people – reaching their destination by driving. This is an increase of 10.3% from last Labor Day when 28.5 million travelers went by motor vehicle. Barring any major tropical storm activity in the Gulf Coast region, AAA expects the national average price of self-serve regular gasoline to be between $2.65 and $2.75 per gallon during this holiday weekend. Leisure air travel is expected to account for just five percent of overall travel with 1.62 million holiday flyers. This is an increase or more than four percent from one year ago when 1.54 million flew. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by four percent of all travelers.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010 Labor Day holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

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