Dash away, dash away, dash away all! And during the upcoming holiday season, a record-breaking 116 million Americans will.
Less than a month after a busy Thanksgiving travel period, Americans again are on the move. And like Thanksgiving, travel will show a significant increase, says AAA Northeast. The holiday period is December 21 – January 1, 2020.
In fact, this year’s overall 116 million people represents a 4% increase over last year – the most travelers in the 20 years since AAA began tracking holiday travel.
Of the overall 116 million travelers,
- 91% or 105 million people plan to drive, which reflects a 4% increase;
- 6% or 7 million will fly, which reflects a 5% increase; and
- 3% or 4 million, a 3% increase, will take a train, bus or some other mode of transportation, including one traveler who says he’ll make a round-the-world journey by sleigh late December 24.
“Contributing to this year’s record numbers are lower gas prices, lower employment rates and rising incomes that allow folks to go, go, go,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman.
“Holiday cheer is at an all-time high,” she added. “And because we have more disposable income, we’re spending it on travel.”
Prepare the Sleigh!
Air travelers generally will leave for holiday destinations at least two to four days before Christmas. Expect the 22nd to be the busiest air travel day of the week, according to AAA flight booking data.
On average, air travelers will pay between $593 and $639 in airfares. Christmas Eve will be the best day to travel with the lowest average ticket price ($527) and the least number of travelers. But if you opt to fly December 26, you’ll pay a premium price ($692) in airfare.
Uh-Oh … A Piece of Coal. . .
Holiday road trippers should expect to spend more for car rentals with average daily prices reaching $84 between Christmas and New Year’s, 11% more than last year and the highest price in a decade, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. AAA Three Diamond hotel prices also have increased 1% to $153, while Two Diamond hotels average $119, 2% less than last year.
Oh! The Places You’ll Go . . .
This year, travelers again will head to southern climes with 9 out of 10 warm-weather spots making AAA’s Top 10 Domestic Holiday Destination List: Orlando, Anaheim, Honolulu, Maui, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Miami, Tampa, and Phoenix. Internationally, the top five destinations include Cancun; Punta Cana; Montego Bay, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta.