US holiday travellers forecast to hit record 100.5 million

Non-profit travel organisation AAA predicted 100.5 million people in the United States are expected to take trips of 80km or more from home.
Non-profit travel organisation AAA predicted 100.5 million people in the United States are expected to take trips of 80km or more from home.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

(Reuters) - The number of year-end holiday travellers in the United States will surpass 100 million for the first time, with most of them planning to drive to their destinations, AAA predicted on Tuesday.

The nonprofit travel organisation said the 100.5 million people expected to take trips of 50 miles (80 km) or more from home would mark a 1.4 per cent increase over last year.

It would be the seventh consecutive year of travel growth from Dec 23 to Jan 3, spanning the Christmas and New Year's holidays, AAA said.

Nearly 91 per cent of travellers will make their journeys by car, while 5.7 per cent will fly, the group said.

With gasoline prices falling nationwide, AAA predicted most US drivers would pay the lowest gas prices on New Year's Day since 2009.

More Americans are expected to travel thanks to an improving job market, higher incomes and gas prices well below last year's levels, the group said.

"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 President and CEO Marshall Doney said.

AAA said its travel projections were based on economic forecasting and research by Colorado-based IHS Global Insight.