More Americans traveling this holiday season, AAA reports

December 13, 2012

Traveling for the holidays? Get ready for crowded roads and packed airport terminals.

There will be 93.3 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles away from home during this holiday season, according to AAA, which released its holiday travel forecast Thursday. That’s a slight increase over last year, when 91.8 million took such trips over the same period. 

“The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays, as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation,” AAA president and chief executive Robert Darbelnet said in a statement. 

The holiday travel period is defined as Saturday, Dec. 22, through Tuesday, Jan. 1. 

Nine out of the 10 people planning to travel said they are going to drive. But even though the overall number of expected drivers (84.4 million) is up from last winter, the road warriors represent a slightly smaller share of total travelers this year. That’s because 200,000 more people will be traveling by air, AAA said, up from 5.4 million last year.

The average distance Americans plan to travel is also up this year, increasing to 760 miles from 726 miles last year. AAA attributes the uptick to the increase in the number of travelers planning to fly.

All of this travel won’t be cheap. The average cost per traveler is also on the rise at $759,  up from $718 last year, according to AAA. 

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news, developing stories and quick analysis of events around the country.
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Mark Berman | December 13, 2012