From the Wires
AAA Chicago: More than One in Four Americans Will Take a Road Trip this Holiday Season
With 93.3 million Americans expected to take a trip this holiday season, holiday travel to increase by 1.6 percent
By: PR Newswire
Dec. 13, 2012 12:01 AM
AURORA, Ill., Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AAA projects 93.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, an increase of 1.6 percent over the 91.8 million people who traveled last year. This increase brings holiday travel figures to within half a million of the decade high mark seen during the 2006/2007 season. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Saturday, Dec. 22 to Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.
The total number of Illinois travelers will be 4.78 million, a 1.3 percent increase from 2011, with 4.35 million traveling by auto and 270,000 traveling by air. In Indiana, there will be 1.98 million total travelers this year, a 1.3 percent increase from 2011, with 1.8 million traveling by auto (up 1.1 percent from 2011) and 112,000 traveling by air. Gas prices will be about even with those in 2011. In Illinois the average cost of an unleaded gallon of gasoline is $3.41 and in Indiana the cost is $3.30.
Highlights from AAA 2012/13 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast include:
"The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation," said Beth Mosher, Director of Public Affairs for AAA Chicago. "Primary economic indicators all show modest improvement from last year and AAA is projecting an increase in the number of Americans stuffing their stockings with airline tickets and hotel reservations."
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
Automobile travel remains dominant mode of transportation, air travel increases
Those traveling by air will find lower airfares according to AAA's Leisure Travel Index. For the year-end holiday period the average lowest round-trip rate is $203 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, a three percent decrease from last year. Approximately 3.3 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.
Hotel rates to increase slightly, car rental rates increase 41 percent
Average travel distance increases
Median spending up nearly six percent; top activities are dining and spending time with loved ones
Dining (67 percent) and spending time with family and friends (66 percent) and are the most popular activities planned by travelers. It is not surprising that during holiday season shopping is the third most popular activity with 57 percent expecting to shop. More than one-third (34 percent) of holiday travelers plan to sightsee during their trips.
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 2011-12 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
SOURCE AAA Chicago
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