Record number of holiday travelers expected

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Evening traffic on I-285 in Atlanta. (photographer: Hyosub Shin / hshin@ajc.com)

More people will be driving to their winter holiday destination this year than ever before, according to AAA projections.

About 91.3 million people will be making a yuletide pilgrimage in an automobile, which is more than 90 percent of travelers. That’s an increase of 1.4 percent over last year.

AAA projects the total number of year-end holiday travelers (which includes air travel, cruises, trains and buses) will top 100 million for the first time on record. The vast majority of them are expected to journey 50 miles or more from home.

That’s about one in three Americans who are planning to take a trip.

But don’t let the prospect of sharing the highway with countless other drivers get your tinsel in a tangle. Remember, there’s a 12-day travel period between Christmas and New Years (defined as Dec. 23 – Jan. 3), meaning that everyone’s journeys will be more spread out than they were at Thanksgiving.

Also, there are tidings of joy — gas prices are poised to be lower than they have been in seven years.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline should fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas, according to AAA. Today’s national average is $2.01, which is 53 cents lower than last year.

AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices on New Year’s Day since 2009.

2015-Year-End-Travel-Forecast


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