Holiday travel expected to increase this year

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This holiday season, travel is expected to increase 3.1 percent over last year.

The annual AAA travel forecast projects that 92.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holidays, between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

This is the fifth consecutive holiday season that AAA has predicted a year-to-year increase in the number of travelers. Projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight.

In Colorado and the mountain states, driving travel is expected to increase 2.4 percent over last year at this time. About 6.5 million Coloradans will drive to their destinations. Air travel in the mountain region will increase nearly 2 percent over last year.

More than nine out of 10 Americans will drive to their holiday destination.
About 85.7 million people – or 93 percent of all holiday travelers – will drive to their year-end holidays destinations.

The number of air travelers is expected to increase by 2.8 percent, totaling nearly 2.75 million people.

Compared to last year, the average travel distance will increase 33 percent, and median spending will increase about 3.5 percent.

Americans are expected to travel an average of 1,052 miles, while median spending is expected to be $694, up from $670 a year ago.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings during the holidays are expected to increase 5 percent from a year ago. Travelers will spend an average of $125 per night, compared to $119 last year.

Airfares are about 3 percent less than last year. The average lowest round-trip rate was $174 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Weekend daily car rental rates will remain unchanged at an average of $50.

In Colorado and other mountain states, the forecast predicts that 6.5 million people will drive to their holiday destinations, up 2.4 percent from last year. It says mountain region air travel is expected to increase 1.8 percent.

To view the full report, visit AAA’s website.