34.1 million traveling for Labor Day, says AAA

AAA projects 34.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Labor Day holiday, a 4.2 percent increase from the 32.7 million people who traveled last year.

The anticipated increase in holiday travel is predominantly due to increased consumer confidence and spending. The total number of 2013 Labor Day holiday travelers is expected to reach a new post-recession high. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.

Highlights from 2013 AAA Labor Day holiday travel forecast include:

• Eighty-five percent of travelers (29.2 million) to travel by automobile, an increase of 4.3 percent  from 28 million last year.

• Holiday air travel expected to increase nearly 3 percent to 2.61 million.

• The largest share of travelers (46 percent) will depart on Aug. 30.

• Sept. 2 is the most popular date of return for holiday trips with 43 percent planning to return that day.

• The average traveler is expected to travel a round-trip distance of 594 miles and spend $804.

• Automobile travel remains dominant mode of transportation.

Gas prices are unlikely to be a major factor for people in determining whether they will travel this Labor Day. As of mid-August, prices were on average down 2.7 percent per gallon compared to the same time last year. The average price for gas on Labor Day 2012 was $3.83 per gallon, the most expensive average ever on record for the holiday. The current national average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.53, 19 cents lower than this day last year.

Locally, gas prices are down considerably compared to this time last year. In Washington, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.81 per gallon, down 17 cents compared to last year and down 13 cents in the past month.

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