ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 20, 2016) — Low gas prices, a strengthening labor market and higher wages are some of the factors AAA Inc. is citing as contributing to what could be a record number of holiday travelers.
The auto club estimates that 103 million Americans will be traveling between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, an increase of 1.5 percent, or 1.5 million people compared with 2015.
"'Tis the season for holiday travel, and this year more Americans will travel to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before," AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said.
A majority of those travelers are expected to drive, with 93.6 million people taking to the roads, an increase of 1.5 percent over 2015.
Throughout the holiday travel period, AAA expects to help 980,000 motorists seeking service for reasons such as dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. The club recommends drivers have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop before traveling.
Gas prices, which are expected to be at or near their lowest mark in the last decade, will add to the savings drivers already have experienced at the pump in 2016. U.S. drivers, AAA said, saved $27 billion in gas this year compared with last year.
Air travel, meanwhile, is expected to increase by 2.5 percent as 6 million more Americans fly to their destinations this year, compared with 2015.
The increase in overall travel also corresponds with an increase in consumer spending, which is being driven by a stronger labor market and rising wages, AAA said.
Other modes of travel — trains, cruises and buses —will see a decrease by 3.5 million travelers, AAA said.