AAA Says 35.5 Million Americans to Travel Labor Day Weekend

Indianapolis, IN – Aug. 31, 2015 – AAA is projecting 35.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the 2015 Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a one percent increase from 2014.

This marks the fourth consecutive year of overall travel growth for the Labor Day period, and the seventh time in the last nine years that a year-over-year increase in volume has occurred.

Forecast Highlights

  • The holiday period is defined this year as Sept. 3 to Sept. 7.
  • The 2015 forecast of 35.5 million American travelers will mark the highest Labor Day holiday travel volume since 2008.
  • This would be the fourth consecutive year travel volume has grown for this holiday.
  • Labor Day gas prices should be the lowest in a decade.
  • The majority of travelers (85.8 percent) will drive. Automobile travel will increase by 1.1 percent this year with 30.4 million travelers hitting the road.
  • 7.4 percent of travelers (2.64 million) will fly – a 1 percent increase from last year.
  • 6.8 percent of travelers (2.42 million) will go by other modes of transportation like train, bus or ship.
  • Hotel costs have risen 10 percent for AAA Two Diamond Hotels and 2 percent for Three Diamond Hotels.
  • Airfares are forecast to fall 1 percent.

“The summer travel season is almost over but an extended weekend and positive economic fundamentals should be enough to convince millions of Americans to travel during Labor Day,” said Greg Seiter, public affairs manager for AAA Hoosier Motor Club. “Historically, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel when Labor Day weekend begins in August, however, even though this year’s holiday starts in September, we expect more Labor Day travelers than last year, primarily due to low gas prices, solid income gains, rising household net worth, and an improving housing market.”

Labor Day gas prices could be lowest in a decade The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is currently $2.47 which is 97 cents cheaper than what it was one year ago today. Minus an unexpected average price increase during the next few days, 2015 Labor Day gas prices will be the lowest they’ve been in a decade.

The price of crude oil continues to drop, which is putting downward pressure on gas prices. West Texas Intermediate dipped below $40 a barrel last week for the first time since February 2009.

Road trips remain top travel preference

The 30.4 million anticipated auto travelers will mark the fifth consecutive year of rising travel volume by automobile. The 2015 forecast is expected to be the second highest volume by this mode since 2003.

Hotel Rates on the Rise While Airline Costs Down According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates are expected to be higher than one year ago while the cost of a flight is going to be slightly lower.

  • AAA Three Diamond lodgings will be at their highest Labor Day point in five years (2 percent above 2014 rates), with travelers spending an average of $175.
  • The average rate for AAA Two Diamond properties has increased 10 percent from Labor Day 2014. The $138 average is 13 dollars higher than last year, and the highest for this holiday in the past five years.
  • Airfares are down 1 percent, with the average round-trip discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $216.

Download the AAA Mobile App Before a Labor Day Getaway

Before setting out on a Labor Day getaway, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. 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.

Travel Forecast Methodology

AAA travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-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.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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