During the year-end holidays, AAA projects 100.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home, an increase of 1.4% from the 98 million people who traveled last year, according to the “2015 AAA Year-End Holidays Travel Forecast.”
This will be the first time on record that travelers have hit over 100 million for year-end holiday travel. It’s the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth, according to the AAA report.
The year-end holiday period is defined as Wednesday Dec. 23 to Sunday Jan 3.
"The holidays are a time for joining with friends and family, and the record number of people traveling this holiday should make for a joyous travel season," said Marshall Doney, AAA president and CEO. "Rising incomes and low gas prices are helping to fill stockings this year, and more people than ever will choose to spend those savings on travel this year."
The increase in holiday travel is being driven by improvement in the labor market, rising incomes and lower gas prices. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices on New Year’s Day since 2009. Today’s national gasoline average is $2.01 per gallon, 55 cents lower than last year, according to AAA. And the national average price for a gallon of gasoline looks to fall below $2 by Christmas.
According to AAA, more than 90% of travelers (91.3 million) plan to travel by automobile during the year-end holidays. This is an increase of 1.4% compared to last year.
Daily car rental rates will average $68, 3% higher than last year’s holiday travel season, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight, a Colorado-based business information provider.
For the complete “AAA/IHS Global Insight Year-End Holidays 2015 Travel Forecast,” visit http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2015-Year-End-Holiday-Report-Final.pdf.