More than 100 million Americans expected to travel during holidays


The potentially record-breaking number of holiday travelers this year, most of whom will drive to their destinations, will benefit from the lowest gas prices in years.

AAA is projecting that over 100 million Americans will take a trip 50 miles or more from home this holiday season, a 1.4% increase over last year. According to AAA, this is the seventh year in a row the number of holiday travelers has grown.

AAA attributes the growth to improvement in employment, rising incomes and low prices, especially for gas.

According to AAA, gas will likely fall below $2 per gallon by Christmas, with the national average standing at $2.01. Last year’s national average around this time was $2.56. Gas prices will likely be at their lowest since 2009 on New Year’s Day.

The majority of holiday travelers, 90%, are projected to drive to their destination, a 1.4% increase over last year. Air travel is expected to see a slight bump of just under 1%, to 5.8 million. Other travel, including rail or cruise, will likely see a 2.4% increase in travelers, to 3.4 million.

AAA’s Leisure Travel Index shows domestic airfares for the top 40 routes are 6% lower this year, at an average of $174 roundtrip.

Lodging and car rental rates have gone up, however. AAA said travelers will spend about $150 per night at its Three Diamond hotels, a 4% increase. Daily car rental rates are up about 3%, to $68.

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