Holiday Travelers Expected to Hit 100 Million

Douglas A. McIntyre

Over 100 million Americans will travel over the holidays, a first. Gasoline prices are one reason, as are improved incomes for many travelers.

According to AAA:

AAA projects the number of year-end holiday travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record. Nearly one in three Americans will take a trip this holiday season, with 100.5 million expected to journey 50 miles or more from home. This represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, December 23, 2015 to Sunday, January 3, 2016.

AAA points to gas prices, which nationally average $2.01 for a gallon of regular. This is 55 cents below last year at the same time.

The car will not be the only means of transportation, although it will trump all other means of travel by a large margin:

More than 90 percent of travelers (91.3 million people) will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.7 percent, with 5.8 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.4 percent, to 3.4 million travelers.

AAA management points out that some travelers continue to be financially cautious this year. That case is difficult to make if over 100 million people are willing to leave their homes to celebrate by taking vacations at the end of the year.

Methodology: 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 major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.