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December 15, 2016
AAA: YEAR-END HOILDAYS TO SET NEW TRAVEL RECORD

More than 103 million Americans will travel this holiday season; the most on record 
 

BURNSVILLE, Mn, (December 15, 2016) – More than 103 million Americans will travel for the year-end holidays, according to AAA’s Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast. This represents a 1.5 percent increase, or 1.5 million more travelers than last year, and the highest total volume since AAA began tracking holiday travel data.

“This will be the most-traveled year-end holiday season on record, particularly for those who drive,” said Joseph J. Richardson Jr., President and CEO, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “If you are planning a road trip, now is the time to get your vehicle inspected. Look for a facility displaying the 'AAA Approved Auto Repair' sign to ensure a trustworthy inspection that could catch any problems before they arise.”

The increase in holiday travel this year is being driven by additional consumer spending, a result of improvements in the labor market and rising wages. Additionally, low gas prices and increased consumer optimism will prompt more Americans than ever to set out on road trips, take to the skies, or board trains, buses and cruise ships to celebrate the holidays.

2016-17 Year-End Holiday Forecast Summary

  • 103.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more
  • The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Friday, December 23 to Monday, January 2, 2017
  • A record number of Americans will drive (93.6 million)
  • Six million Americans will fly - the fourth-highest volume of air passengers (the top three were 2002/03 - 7.3 million, 2003/04 - 7.1 million, and 2004/05 - 6.4 million)
  • "Other modes" volume fell 0.3% (10,000 fewer Americans than 2015). The decline is attributed to a shift toward more auto and air travelers
  • Compared to last year, average prices are $75 higher for airfares ($204), $2 lower for car rentals ($66), $9 higher for AAA Two Diamond-Rated Hotels ($128), and $10 higher for AAA Three Diamond-Rated hotels ($160)
  • AAA expects to rescue more than 980,000 motorists over the 11-day holiday travel period
Most travelers will drive this holiday season
The vast majority of travelers—93.6 million people—will take a holiday road trip, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 2.5 percent, with more than 6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease slightly, to 3.5 million travelers.

Holiday airfares, hotel rates and car rental prices mixed
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, holiday airfares are projected to average $204 for a roundtrip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. Rates for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to increase 7 percent, with travelers spending an average of $128 and $160 per night, respectively. Daily car rental rates will average $66, slightly lower than last year’s holiday travel season.

Warm-weather destinations top the list of most popular holiday destinations
With the exception of New York City—an-ever popular holiday destination—warm-weather locales in Nevada, Florida and California top the list of most popular destinations for this holiday season, based on AAA.com bookings.
 
  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. New York City
  4. San Diego, California
  5. Anaheim, California
AAA to rescue more than 980,000 motorists this holiday season
AAA expects to rescue more than 980,000 motorists over the 11-day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. Drivers should have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

The Top Four Safe Driving Tips for Motorists
 
  • Slow down, allow yourself plenty of time
  • Drive sober, do not drink alcohol or take impairing drugs (legal or illegal)
  • Pay attention, eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, mind on the task of driving
  • Buckle up, or using appropriate child restraint devices, they’re your best defense in a crash
Download the AAA Mobile app before a holiday getaway
Before setting out on a holiday trip, travelers should download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can help map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

About the travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-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. The complete AAA/IHS 2016 year-end holiday travel forecast can be found here.
 
 

Contact(s):

Gail Weinholzer
phone: 952.707.4985
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to over 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 56 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.


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