The vast majority of holiday travelers — approximately 48.5 million (81 percent) — expect to go by motor vehicle, a 2.5 percent increase from the 47.3 million who drove a year ago.
Another 8.3 million (14 percent of holiday travelers) plan to go by airplane, up 2 percent from the 8.1 million who flew last winter holiday. A projected 2.8 million vacationers (5 percent) will go by train, bus, or other mode of transportation. “Most traveling Americans will drive to see family and friends this Christmas-New Year’s holiday,” said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. “But this long winter break that includes two weeks for many families will provide millions of travelers the opportunity to fly to vacation spots for a break from work and school.”
Auto travelers will find gas prices about 10 cents higher than they were a year ago. The national average of $1.48 for a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded is 3 cents lower than it was for Thanksgiving.
The greatest number of Christmas-New Year’s auto travelers will originate in the Southeast with 12.6 million; followed by the West, 12.1 million; Midwest, 9.9 million; Great Lakes, 7.7 million; and Northeast, 6.2 million.
The West and Southeast are expected to produce the largest number of air travelers, each with 2.4 million, followed by the Northeast, 1.6 million; Midwest, 1 million; and Great Lakes, 900,000.
Cities top the list of preferred destinations this holiday with 38 percent of the travel volume. Towns and rural areas are the destination for 32 percent of travelers, followed by oceans and beaches, 10 percent; mountains, 9 percent; lakes, 2 percent; theme/amusement parks, 2 percent; and state parks, 1 percent. Another 4 percent responded with other, and 2 percent said they didn’t know.
Of the total Christmas-New Year’s travelers, 60 percent will stay with friends or relatives and another 24 percent expect to stay at a hotel/motel. Other overnight plans include: cabin/condo, 7 percent; camper/trailer/RV/tent, 1 percent; other 1 percent; no overnight stay, 4 percent; and didn’t know, 3 percent.
AAA’s holiday travel figures are based on a national telephone survey of 1,300 adults by the Travel Industry Association of America, which conducts special research for AAA.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its more than 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully-tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
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