Americans to travel over the holiday season in record numbers: AAA

A record-setting 103 million Americans are expected to hit the roads and take to the skies over the year-end holiday season, thanks to low gas prices and increased consumer spending, says the AAA.

Despite the fact that this year’s holiday season comes with one fewer travel day compared to 2015, recently released figures from the motoring and leisure organization show that compared to last year, 1.5 million more people are expected to travel this year.

The holiday travel period is defined as Friday, December 23, 2016 to Monday, January 2, 2017.

Experts attribute the increase to factors like rising wages and improvements in the labor market as well as improved consumer optimism.

Likewise, low gas and aviation fuel prices are prompting more Americans than ever to plan road trips and book cheaper airfares.

At the pumps, the AAA estimates that US drivers have already saved $27 million this holiday season compared to the same period last year. Most US drivers will also pay the second-cheapest New Year’s Day gas prices since 2009, when the national average was $1.62 per gallon.

Overall, 93.6 million people are expected to take a road trip this season — an increase of 1.5 percent over last year.

Air travel is also expected to increase by 2.5 percent, with more than six million Americans boarding a plane to get to their destination. Holiday airfares for this season average $204 for a roundtrip flight along the top 40 domestic routes.

According to bookings made on AAA.com, the most popular holiday destination in the US this season is Las Vegas, followed by Orlando, New York, San Diego, and Anaheim, California.

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