US Holiday Travel Expected to Rise Slightly: AAA

U.S. travel over the Christmas and New Year's holidays will rise just 0.7 percent over last year, the slowest rate of growth in five years amid soaring fuel prices, AAA said on Monday.

Some 65.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the busiest travel period of the year, up from 64.7 million last year in the slowest growth since travel slipped in 2002, AAA said in its survey of 2,200 adults.

"Whether driving or flying, Americans face steep increases in their travel budgets during this Christmas-New Year's holiday," Robert L. Barbelnet, president of AAA, said in a press release.

"Gasoline prices remain at unprecedented levels for this time of the year with prices of $3 a gallon or more a common sight across much of the country. Airfares averaging 16 percent more than last Christmas means that bargains may be hard to find for those looking to fly to their destinations," he said.

Some 53 million of the holiday travelers expect to go by car, up 0.9 percent from last year, while 8.9 million will fly, down 0.3 percent from a year ago, AAA said. The rest will travel by bus, train or other mode of transportation.