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Highways, airways to be packed for Labor Day

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Aug 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM

AAA projects 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013.

Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million), including nearly six million in Ohio and other East North Central states, will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Aug. 28 to Monday, Sept. 1.

“Millions in the region are planning a trip to celebrate their last taste of summer freedom before settling back into the school and work routines of the fall season,” said Jim Lehman, president of AAA East Central.  “We are ending summer on a positive note with travel demand trending upward.”

Specifically, more than 5.9 million people from the East North Central states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin) expect to travel this holiday weekend by automobile, air and other forms of transportation, up about 0.9% from last year. Some 5.3 million will be traveling by car, also up 0.9 % from last year. Air travel is expected to rise 2.1% in the region over Labor Day 2013, with 229,000 expected to fly for the holiday.

Labor Day Travel Highlights:

• Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.

• Nationally, Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.

• Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.

• Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.

• Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.

Travelers likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Many U.S. consumers are paying lower gas prices and in some regions, the lowest gas prices since August 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could help make travel more affordable.  Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years, which will allow travelers to allocate more of their budgets towards travel expenses. Nationally today, the price of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 on Labor Day last year. In Ohio today, the average gas price was $3.42. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Airfare and hotel costs rise, car rental fees flat

Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including cities, like the award-winning Las Vegas title, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android offers GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. 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.

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