PROVIDENCE – Roughly 93.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season that falls between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1, according to AAA Southern New England.
This estimate is an increase of 1.6 percent from the 91.8 million Americans who traveled during the 2011 holiday season. According to AAA, the estimated increase brings holiday travel figures to within a half million of the decade-high mark seen during the 2006 year-end holiday travel season.
In the New England area, year-end holiday travel is expected to increase 1.4 percent compared with 2011. Travel by car is forecast to grow 1.2 percent while airplane travel is projected to increase 4 percent.
According to AAA, the 3.96 million New England residents expected to travel during the holiday season represent 27.2 percent of the region’s total population.
In the U.S. as a whole, AAA estimates that air travel will rise 4.5 percent to 5.6 million in 2011. About 90 percent of Christmas/New Year’s travelers will complete their trips by automobile. This represents 26.7 percent of the total population, meaning that more than 1 in 4 Americans will take a road trip during their holiday.
“The Christmas-New Year’s 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,” Lloyd P. Albert, AAA senior vice president of public and government affairs, said in prepared remarks. “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.”
AAA’s travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by Colorado-based economic research and consulting firm IHS Global Insight.