More People Will Get Away This Labor Day, AAA Says

The number of Americans traveling this Labor Day holiday weekend will increase by nearly 10 percent from 2009, says AAA.

That means about 34.4 million people will take a trip at least 50 miles from home. Last year the number was 31.3 million, one of the lowest in AAA's record-keeping history, and down from 45 million in 2008.

The holiday travel period is defined as Sept. 2 to 6.

AAA officials say the economy is not as much a factor in people's travel plans this year, with pent-up demand for a getaway winning out over any financial concerns.

"While media reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, many Americans are still interested in taking one more trip as the summer travel season comes to a close," says Beth Mosher, spokeswoman for AAA.

AAA estimates travelers will spend about $697 over the weekend, which is about $50 more than last year.

Most Americans will stay close to home, driving mostly to see relatives or friends, AAA says. The average trip is expected to be about 635 miles, less than the 645 miles of last year.

AAA says about 91 percent will travel by car, 5 percent by plane and the rest by either bus, boat or train.

Drivers will get a break this year on gas prices, with the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular during the holiday weekend expected to range from $2.65 to $2.75.

There are price increases in other areas, however. Airfares are up about 9 percent, hotel room rates up as much as 6 percent, and car rental rates up 7 percent over last year, AAA says.

Photo, Wolfgang Staudt, Flickr
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