With fuel prices slipping down to around $2.90 per gallon on a national average, AAA expects travel to be up 1.2% for the Labor Day weekend.
According to a press release, AAA estimates that 35.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday compared with 34.8 million who traveled last year.
The increase represents the second smallest expected rise since Memorial Day 2003, when holiday travel began to rebound after the 9/11 attacks and Iraq invasion, AAA said.
“Labor Day brings this eventful and strong summer travel season to a close,” said Gail Weinholzer, director of public affairs, AAA Minnesota/Iowa. “Despite seeing gas prices at record heights this summer, Americans have traveled nonetheless, and the recent price drops certainly won’t stop them from traveling through Labor Day.”
Weinholzer added, “Travel will be up only slightly this holiday weekend. Both high gas prices and the increasing number of school systems that start before Labor Day contribute to the small increase in expected travel.”
Approximately 29.6 million travelers (84% of all holiday travelers) expect to go by motor vehicle, just over the 29.1 million who drove a year ago.
Another 3.9 million (11% of holiday travelers) plan to travel by airplane, down from the 4 million that flew last Labor Day holiday. A projected 1.6 million vacationers (4.5%) will go by train, bus, or other mode of transportation, down from about 1.7 million a year ago.
Despite dropping fuel prices, travelers are still paying more for fuel than they were a year ago, leading 41% of the total Labor Day travelers expecting to stay at friends’ and relatives’ homes to save on expenditures.
Hotels/motels rank second with 32%, followed by camper/trailer/RV/tent, 9%; own cabin/condo, 5%; and rented cabin/condo 5%. Another 2% responded with bed & breakfast; other 1%; no overnight stay, 5%; and didn’t know, 1%.