According to an American Automobile Association (AAA) report, one-third of Americans are expected to travel over holidays, marking a record-breaking level and capping a 7-year trend of holiday travel growth.
Over 100 million people in the U.S. will hit either the roads or skies this holiday season, the report showed Tuesday. It is the first time ever when U.S. holiday travelers hit the 100 million milestone since the auto club started to keep track.
AAA investigators based their report on two major assumptions: that Americans have more money to spend and gasoline is cheap. AAA Chief executive Marshall Doney recently told reporters that higher incomes in combination with cheaper fuel will help people easier fill stockings and travel wherever their hearts wish.
This year is the seventh in a string of consecutive years marked by an upward trend in holiday travel. According to the auto club, the number of U.S. travelers should climb this year to 100.5 million, which also marks a 1.4 percent growth from Dec. 2014.
In order to be classified as a holiday traveler you need to travel more than 50 miles away from home from December 23 through January 3.
Last month, gasoline prices were the lowest on record with an average of 2.14 per gallon. This is why, AAA investigators believe that most holiday travelers would decide to go by car. According to the AAA forecast, nearly 91 percent of holiday travelers will drive their way to their favorite locations. Nearly 6 percent are expected to go by plane, while 3.4 percent will use other means of transport.
Flight tickets are also coming cheap this season as compared with 2014. A roundtrip ticket should cost around $174. Nevertheless, accommodation costs are slightly higher this year as AAA highlighted a 4 percent increase from the previous year. A hotel room should cost on average $150 for a night.
The report also found that disposable income rose from last year by more than 3 percent since wages also rose while prices leveled off. The surge in holiday travel may be also linked to a lower unemployment rate which is expected to be 0.6 pts lower than the previous year, according to the AAA.
Furthermore, hourly earnings of Americans rose by more than 2 percent in 2015, officials from labor department recently said. Labor Department also found that unemployment fell by 0.8 percent this year.
Doney noted that people see Christmas and other winter holidays as an opportunity to reunite with their loved ones, so he wished everyone ‘a joyous travel season’.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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