Highlights From AAA's 2012-2013 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast
- Ninety percent of travelers (84.4 million) will travel by car, representing 26.7 percent of the total U.S. population, or one in four Americans
- Holiday air travel is forecast to rise 4.5 percent to 5.6 million travelers from 5.4 million in 2011
- Median spending is expected to increase about 6 percent to $759, compared to $718 in 2011 with transportation costs consuming about 29 cents of every travel dollar.
- Average distance traveled is expected to increase to 760 miles round-trip from 726 miles
The national average price of gasoline, meanwhile, is forecast to slowly drop through the end of the year and average between $3.20-3.40 a gallon by New Year's Day. While AAA does not expect gas prices to have a major impact on travel volume, fuel-cost savings could mean consumers have more money to spend on holiday shopping, dining and entertainment if prices drop through December as expected.
Airfares Down, Hotel Rates Rise
Those traveling by air will find lower airfares this holiday season, according to AAA. For the year-end holiday period, the average lowest round-trip rate is $203 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, a 3 percent decline from last year's rate of about $209.28.
Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond properties are expected to increase 2 percent from a year ago — $129 per night compared to $126 last year. AAA Two Diamond hotels will be 3 percent higher, or an average of $95 per night compared to about $92.23 in 2011.
For additional holiday-travel information from AAA, click here.