AAA Predicts Record Number of Holiday Travelers

If you're traveling for the holiday this week, you're not alone: The number of Americans traveling for the holidays will top 100 million for the first time ever this year, AAA predicted in its year-end travel forecast.

Nearly one in three Americans will take a trip this holiday season -- Dec. 23 through Jan. 3 -- AAA said, with 100.5 million people expected to travel at least 50 miles from home. This is up 1.4 percent from 2014 and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth.

"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," said AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney, who attributed the increase to improved economic conditions across the country, including a bright employment picture. "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."

Americans also are expected to spend more on travel this holiday season, according to the U.S. Travel Association. In total, it projected, holiday travelers will spend $28.7 billion this year, a "slight but steady" increase from 2014.

The increased travel and travel spending are an urgent reminder that the United States must continue to invest in travel infrastructure, according to U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "Year-end holiday travel and spending is great news for our industry and the U.S. economy, not to mention our families and friends across the country. However, these numbers should remind our elected officials in Washington to keep our roads, railroads, and airports a priority so that travelers can spend their time with their loved ones this holiday season instead of sitting stuck in traffic or on the tarmac," he said. "Previous research has shown that our roads and skies simply cannot keep up with the demand in travel. Labor Day traffic on the roads and Thanksgiving congestion in airports could soon become our new normal, and this simply will not do. Americans are not going to stop traveling any time soon, and they need a competitive national transportation system that keeps up with them. We urge Congress to take note of this, and continue to advance policies that keep travelers moving -- and our nation's economy along with them."

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