AAA sees upcoming Labor Day travelers the most since 2008
LABOR DAY TRAVELERS are expected to reach the highest levels since before the 2008 financial crisis, according to AAA Southern New England, with the region expected to see a larger increase in holiday travel than the rest of the nation.
PROVIDENCE – AAA Southern New England projects that 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from their homes during the Labor Day holiday weekend. This is the highest volume of travelers for the holiday since 2008, when there were 45.1 million Americans expected to travel.
The New England region is expected to exceed national travel projections, with an increase of 1.6 percent from last year, compared with a 1.3 percent increase nationally. Auto travel in New England is also expected to be higher than national projections with a 1.7 percent increase compared with 1.4 percent nationally.
Rhode Island consumers can expect to pay an average of $3.55 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, which is the 16th highest price in the nation. Other New England states remain in the same ballpark. Vermont has the 15th highest prices in the nation, while Massachusetts and Maine have the 18th and 19th highest gasoline prices, respectively. Connecticut still pays the most for gasoline in New England. It has the seventh highest gasoline prices in the country with an average of $3.77 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.
This year’s holiday weekend runs from Thursday, Aug. 28 to Monday, Sept. 1. AAA found that historically, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel when Labor Day weekend begins in August. AAA also has found that gasoline prices have little impact on the amount of travelers for this holiday, although lower prices may make travel more affordable.
Nearly 86 percent of travelers will culminate the end of summer with a road trip, while 7.6 percent of travelers will travel by air and 6.7 percent will take another mode of transportation. For those hitting the road Labor Day weekend, AAA found that most consumers are paying the lowest gas prices since 2010. Weekend rental car rates remain the same as last year, with an average cost of $51.
However, airfares have risen 2 percent, with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $219 compared with $214 last year. AAA’s Leisure Travel Index also found that AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase 6 percent in cost from last year, which will have consumers spending an average of $171 a night, compared with $161 last year. AAA Two Diamond hotel rates also have risen with a price increase of 9 percent.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight, which has teamed up with AAA to analyze travel trends during major holidays since 2009. AAA has reported on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.