AAA has been releasing travel projections before each major holiday for more than 20 years. This year AAA determined the decline in likely travelers was the result of when Labor Day appears on the calendar. Labor Day falls on September 7, the latest possible date for the national holiday that was set for the first Monday in September to honor American workers. The last time Labor Day fell on Sept. 7 was in 1998.
According to AAA travel analysts, the decline in the number of people expected to travel during the last three day weekend of the summer is due in large part to public school calenders. Virtually all public schools and most private schools – especially in Florida and other southeastern states – will have opened for the academic year before the holiday weekend. However, in other regions many schools do not open until the Tuesday after Labor Day.
AAA’s travel projections are based on results of a survey conducted by IHS Global Insight for the auto club.
The survey found that nearly 1.9 million Floridians and 39.1 million people nationwide plan to travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend and will spend about $968 per household.
Automobile trips remain the most popular way to leave home, with nearly 84 percent of all holiday travelers planning to drive themselves somewhere. About four percent of travelers plan to fly while the remaining travelers will go by trains, buses, motorcycles, RVs or some other former of transportation.
Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president of AAA Auto Club South, said travelers will find some deals when they leave home.
“Although the calendar this year creates an anomaly that allows fewer families to hit the road, many may decide at the last minute to take advantage of significantly lower rates for hotels and airfares,” Bakewell said.’
He projected that airfares will be 17 percent lower than at the same time last year while hotel rates in many places will be down 12 percent from year-ago levels.
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