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Busy year-end holidays will be marked by most travelers on record
Tampa, FL – The year-end holiday season should see the highest travel volume on record (AAA travel data dates back to 2001).
AAA projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year.
The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23rd to Sunday, January 4th.
Highlights from 2014/2015 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast:
Infographic: 2014 AAA Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast
“This year more Americans will join friends and family to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Continued growth in consumer confidence and disposable income, an extended holiday period, and low gas prices should drive expected travel volumes to the highest level we have ever seen during the year-end holidays.”
This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips. “This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules,” Jenkins said.
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
“Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2008,” continued Jenkins. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”
Monday’s national average price of gasoline ($2.55) is 68 cents lower than last year ($3.23), a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen 81 consecutive days, helping to increase Americans’ disposable income 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which has had a positive effect on travel.
“Gas prices should continue falling through the rest of the year,” said Jenkins. “Prices are dropping at around 1-2 cents a day, and if that trend continues, gas could be 15 cents cheaper by Christmas day.”
Visit AAA.com/Gas to view current state and local average gasoline prices, find the cheapest gas in your city, and calculate how much you will likely spend on gas during your next road trip.
Hotel, car rental rates rise modestly
The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108.00 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66.00, four percent higher than last year.
Airfares fall seven percent this year, driven by low-cost carriers
Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year, to $186.00. “This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets and not based on cheaper fuel costs,” said Jenkins. AAA encourages travelers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments.
AAA expects to rescue 1.1 million motorists this holiday season
Between December 23rd and January 4th, AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and other information are available at AAA.com.
Prevent impaired driving this holiday season
With more than 90 percent of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA urges everyone on the road to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in eight of all licensed drivers who drink at least occasionally reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.
The survey also reveals 91 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable, with 42 percent reporting that drunk drivers are a bigger problem today versus three years ago. “Despite the ubiquitous warnings about drinking and driving, especially during the holiday season, an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death occurs every 45 minutes,” said Jenkins.
AAA works year-round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and injuries. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.
AAA offers travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider 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 2014 Year-End Travel Forecast can be found here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
TopicsAAA, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Christmas Day, Florida, Gas Prices, Georgia, Holiday Travel, Iowa, Mark Jenkins, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Tampa FL, Tennessee, The Auto Club Group, Wisconsin
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