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Next week Americans will hit the roads and skies to spend time with family and friends for the holidays, and AAA projects this Christmas will be the most traveled on record.
A total of 98.6 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles away from home this year-end holiday period, which AAA defines as December 23 to January 4. This is an increase of four percentage points from last year’s 94.8 million travelers, and this is the sixth straight year AAA projected a record number of year-end holiday travel compared to the previous year. AAA first began tracking holiday travel data in 2001.
Most travelers will reach their destinations by car (91%), the same percentage as last year, and about 6% will fly, also the same as last year. The remaining 3% will take a bus, train or other mode of transportation.
Lower gas prices will help the holiday drive market this year, as the national average for a gallon of gas is $2.53, 79 cents less than the price per gallon on January 1, 2014.
The 4% growth in total Americans traveling during the year-end holiday period is the highest forecast growth rate since 2009 and the second highest since 2002. AAA says this 13-day year-end holiday period is one day longer than last year and two days longer than the 2010 to 2012 holiday periods.