Labor Day is one of the iconic U.S. drive holidays and if Americans have saved about $500 per household on cheaper gas so far this year, that's extra money hotels, airlines and destinations can compete for.
When 30.4 million U.S. travelers hit the roads for Labor Day this weekend they’ll encounter the lowest gas prices for the holiday in more than a decade.
That’s according to AAA, which said the national average for a gallon of gas this weekend will settle around $2.47, a full 88 cents less than last Labor Day and the lowest average for the holiday since 2004.
Some 35.5 million Americans in all will travel this weekend, with 2.6 million flying, 2.4 million taking a train, bus or cruise and the rest driving 50 miles or more from home. This is the highest number of Labor Day travelers since 2008 but only a 1% increase year-over-year.
The nation’s top 10 highest average gas prices for this weekend are all concentrated in western states. All U.S. states and Washington, D.C. will see cheaper gas than a year ago but eight of the ten states with the largest decreases in average gas prices during the past month are on the east coast.
“Historically, more Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel when Labor Day weekend begins in August,” said Brent Stahlheber, a spokesperson for AAA. “Although this year’s holiday begins in September, AAA still expects 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.”
AAA said average daily rates for its two and three Diamond-rated hotels will land at $138 and $175 this weekend, respectively, and the average airfare for a round-trip ticket for the top 40 domestic routes is $216. The average vacation rental for this weekend will cost around $377.26, based on data from Tripping.com, a vacation rental metasearch site.
In December, AAA also projected Americans could save as much as $75 billion this year because of falling gas prices. The organization told Skift during the first half of this year U.S. travelers already saved $65 billion, equating to a savings of $500 per household.
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Photo credit: Young travelers enjoy Nauset Beach in Orleans, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism / Flickr