Labor Day Travel Expected to Increase Nearly 10 Percent
All modes of transportation up, increase represents year-over-year travel recovery
August 25, 2010 – AAA is forecasting a 9.9 percent increase in the number of Americans traveling this Labor Day holiday weekend compared to 2009 travel figures. Approximately 34.4 million people are expected travel at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 31.3 million Americans traveled during the same travel period. The 2010 Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 2 to Monday, September 6.
“While reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, many are still interested in taking one more trip as the summer travel season come to a close,” said Tom Chestnut, President/CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. “It is encouraging to see more Americans planning to travel to visit family, friends and exciting vacation destinations.”
Auto and air travel increase
Travel by automobile is expected to be the most popular mode of travel with 31.4 million people driving, representing 91 percent of total travelers. This is an increase of 10.3 percent from last Labor Day when 28.5 million travelers went by motor vehicle.
Leisure air travel is expected to account for just five percent of overall travel with 1.62 million taking to the skies. This is an increase of 4.6 percent from one year ago when 1.54 million flew. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, represent the remaining four percent of travelers.
Barring any major tropical storm or hurricane 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 Labor Day weekend. Today, the average national price is $2.70.
As of this morning, the average price in the State of New York is $2.86. In the Buffalo/Niagara region, the average price is $2.85. In Rochester and the surrounding areas, the average price is $2.83, while motorists in Syracuse and Central New York are paying $2.80 on average.
Airfares, hotel and rental car rates increase
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares over the Labor Day holiday weekend are expected to increase nine percent from last year with the lowest round-trip rates moving up to $179.
Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $139 per night compared to $132 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay two percent more at an average cost of $102 per night.
Weekend daily car rental rates will increase seven percent to an average of $46.
Median spending increases, average distance traveled decreases
The average distance traveled by Americans this Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be 635 miles, slightly less than the average of 645 miles from one year ago. Median spending is expected to be $697 this Labor Day, nearly $50 more than last year when median spending was estimated to be $650. Dining (63 percent); shopping (47 percent) and visiting with friends and relatives (43 percent) were named as the three top primary activities by travelers this Labor Day weekend.
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.
To plan a Labor Day vacation or getaway, or for more information on AAA Travel services, please visit www.AAA.com/travel, call (888) 320-3163, or stop into any AAA Travel and Insurance Center.
As Upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 880,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.