A record-breaking number of Americans are set to celebrate Christmas away from home, according to the AAA.
The AAA forecasts that 107 million Americans will take to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation during the year-end holiday period from Saturday, Dec. 23 through Monday, Jan. 1. This will be the highest year-end travel volume on record and a 3.1% increase in travel volume compared with last year. 2017 marks the ninth consecutive year of rising year-end holiday travel.
“More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday revelers to stay home,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Senior Vice President, Travel and Publishing. “In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and we project the same for the year-end holiday period. We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long.”
For the 97.4 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, in collaboration with AAA, predicts travel times during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the normal trip.
Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX expects drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week – on Wednesday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 21 – in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.
“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metros,” said Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist and Head of Research at INRIX. “Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak times altogether or consider alternative routes.”