Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Tue December 15 2015

AAA: Record-Breaking Holiday Travel Season Coming

Features & Advice | Donald Wood | December 15, 2015

AAA: Record-Breaking Holiday Travel Season Coming

TravelPulse file photo

A new report from AAA suggests that for the first time ever, there will be more than 100 million Americans who travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season this year.

The year-end holiday season is defined as Dec. 23, to Jan. 3, 2016, and the AAA study finds that nearly one in three people in the United States will travel during that period. The estimate of 100.5 million travelers would be a 1.4 percent increase over 2014 and mark seven straight years of holiday travel growth.

Of the Americans traveling for the year-end holiday season, 91.3 million people will be driving to their destinations. Another 5.8 million travelers will fly during the holidays, and 3.4 million Americans will use cruises, trains and buses.

AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney released a statement about the surge in holiday travelers, saying, “The holidays are a time for joining with friends and family, and the record number of people traveling this holiday should make for a joyous travel season. Rising incomes and low gas prices are helping to fill stockings this year, and more people than ever will choose to spend those savings on travel this year.”

AAA is attributing the climb in numbers to several factors, including improvements in the labor market, rising incomes and low gas prices. With more disposable income, people are more willing to hit the road for the holidays.

Gas prices are poised to fall this winter as well, with the national average price likely to dip below $2 per gallon by Christmas, according to AAA. The report also found that drivers will experience the lowest gas prices on New Year's Day since 2009.

In AAA's Leisure Travel Index, airfares have dropped six percent for the top 40 domestic flight routes. The index also indicates that rates for hotels are between four and 11 percent higher than last year, and average daily car rental rates will be three percent higher this holiday travel season.

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