Holiday weekend travel bumps up

Leaving town for the Labor Day weekend? You’ll be joining a crowd.

AAA’s annual survey for the Labor Day holiday found that 811,500 people say they plan to travel this weekend, a 2.6 percent increase over the number who went somewhere last Labor Day weekend.

This year’s forecast is the highest in four years, suggesting that the economic recovery continues. Before you get too excited by that notion, be aware that the number of people who traveled from the Washington region during the first two big summer holidays — Memorial Day and July 4 — decreased this year

“After staying put throughout the summer, Washingtonians are yearning for travel, so they are getting the heck of out town for Labor Day,” said AAA spokesman John B. Townsend II.

Nationwide, the increase in overall travel betweenThursday and Sept. 2 will be 4.2 percent higher, AAA said. The automobile club says its survey results project that 34.1 million people will travel 50 or more miles from home, up from 32.7 million in 2012. Eighty-five percent of them say they won’t be home until Monday, or later.

About 8 percent of the nation’s travelers say they will fly somewhere, and 7 percent say they will go by rail, bus, boat or some other carrier. The rest say they plan to drive.

The breakdown on the planned mode of travel is about the same for people from Washington and its suburbs, with 87 percent driving, 8 percent flying and the rest using other modes.

Gas prices are down 16 cents per gallon in Washington, compared with a year ago. Nationally, they have dropped by 21 cents per gallon.

People who travel from the Washington region tell AAA they plan to spend more than the national average, $946 compared with $804 for those elsewhere. They said about half of that will go toward transportation and lodging and about a quarter of it will be spent on food and drink.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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