Heavy travel this holiday season, AAA predicts

ATLANTA — More than one in every four Americans will be traveling this holiday season, according to AAA’s latest estimates. That figure if roughly on par with the decade’s high mark hit during the 2006-07 season.

Meanwhile, a separate holiday travel survey of 1,300 U.S. travelers and released by TripAdvisor found that 45 percent are planning to travel during the December holidays, an increase from the 42 percent who did so last year.

In total, AAA predicts 93.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles during the year-end holidays. If correct, this represents a 1.6 percent increase from the 91.8 million people who traveled during the year-end holidays last year.

“The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation,” AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a release. “Primary economic indicators all show modest improvement from last year and AAA is projecting an increase in the number of Americans stuffing their stockings with airline tickets and hotel reservations.”

The organization predicts upwards of 90 percent of travelers — or 84.4 million — will be driving to their destination.

The good news for travelers is gas prices have dropped roughly 50 cents per gallon between September and early December, but prices are at record highs for this time of year, AAA said.