Low gas prices and high economic optimism will result in a record-breaking year for holiday travel, experts predict.
Automobile club AAA anticipates roughly 103 million Americans will take to land or sky between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, a 1.5-percent increase over last year. A decrease in the cost of fuel and an increase in general optimism about the state of the economy will be responsible for the surge, which marks the eighth straight year of holiday travel growth.
AAA predicts that most of this year’s travellers – 93.6 million – will travel by car over the holidays, as U.S. motorists saved more than $27-billion in gas this year.
Experts also believe that an expected 4.1 percent rise in consumer spending this year (linked to personal income having risen 3.3 percent) will help propel travelers forward.
“Rising incomes and continued low gas prices should make for a joyous holiday travel season,” AAA CEO Marshall Doney said.
According to the trade group Airlines for America (which represents most of the major carriers), airlines are anticipating a 3.5 percent increase to 45.2 million passengers from Dec. 16 through Jan. 5.
While travellers are saving in some areas, however, they may be making up for it elsewhere. The cost of lodgings expected to rise seven percent, according to AAA, to an average $128 per night for two-diamond ratings and $160 for three-diamond.
h/t USA Today.