Forecast: Holiday Travel Will Reach Record Levels

Approximately 97.4 million will travel by car, a 3% year-over-year increase. Photo via Wikimedia/Minesweeper.
Approximately 97.4 million will travel by car, a 3% year-over-year increase. Photo via Wikimedia/Minesweeper.

AAA’s latest research found that travel during the year-end holiday period from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, which will be the highest year-end travel volume on record, with 107.3 million Americans planning to travel.

This year marks the ninth consecutive year of rising year-end holiday travel, with a 3.1 percent increase. Car rental rates have increased this year by 11 percent to $74 for the daily car rental rate, setting a new five-year record high rate for year-end holiday travel. Approximately 97.4 million will travel by car, a 3% year-over-year increase.

INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, in collaboration with AAA, predicts travel times during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the normal trip. The worst days and times to travel are Dec. 20 to 21 from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

"More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday revelers to stay home," said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. "In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and we project the same for the year-end holiday period. We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long."

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