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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AAA Travel reports nearly 11.2 million people in the Mid-Atlantic Region (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) will travel 50 miles of more to get to their year-end holiday destinations. This is an increase of 4.7% from the 10.5 million people who traveled in the same region last year. 10.1 million people will be traveling via car, up 5% from 2013; and 723,000 people will be taking to the sky, an increase of 1.5% from the previous year.

This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record. The year-end holiday period is Dec. 23 to Jan. 4.

“The Year-end holidays are a time to connect with close family and friends,” said Jim Lehman, President of AAA East Central. “Many Americans are taking advantage of the fact that this is the longest holiday period since 2008; since Christmas falls on a Thursday this year,” Lehman added.

AAA Forecasts 98.6 million Americans to Travel Nationally

  • 98.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more, up 4% from the 94.5 million in 2013
  • 91% (89.5 million) of travelers will drive to their destinations, up 4.3% from last year
  • 5.8% (5.7 million) of people will take a plane, up 1% from 2013
  • 3.4% (3.4 million)of Americans will take other modes of transportation, an increase of 3% from 2013

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

Today’s national average price of gasoline is at $2.51, the lowest level in five years and 71 cents lower than last year, a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen for 83 days in a row, helping to increase Americans’ disposable income 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which has had a positive effect on travel.

Hotel, car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $138 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66, four percent higher than last year.

Airfares fall seven percent this year, driven by low-cost carriers

Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year. This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets. AAA encourages travelers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments.

AAA expects to rescue 1.1 million motorists this holiday season

Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4, AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and information are available at

AAA offers travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at

On, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s collection of downloadable eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones is available free to members at Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, and regions like Wine Country and national parks.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2014 Year-End Travel Forecast can be found here.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit organization with 83 local offices in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and New York, servicing more than 2.7 million members.

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