(USA TODAY) -- Travel
club AAA is projecting that 34.1 million Americans will travel over this
Labor Day weekend, the most since the midst of the recession.
number of Americans using the holiday for a getaway at least 50 miles
from home represents a 4.2% increase over the 32.7 million who traveled
during the Labor Day weekend in 2012. And it's the highest number of
travelers since 2009, when 31.3 million Americans took a holiday break
in the midst of the economic downturn.
AAA says this year's projected spike reflects growing economic confidence, particularly when it comes to real estate.
many Americans, their home is also their biggest asset,'' AAA president
and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a statement. "As home prices improve
in many parts of the country, more families are feeling comfortable
about traveling this Labor Day holiday."
Most Americans will take
to the road, with 85% expected to drive to their destinations, 4.3% more
than the 28 million who got away by car last year.
That may be
due in part to slightly less sticker shock at the pump. Last year, a
gallon of gas on Labor Day cost on average $3.83, the highest average
price on record for the holiday. Gas currently is 18 cents cheaper on
average, at $3.54 a gallon.
While AAA says that it expected gas to
be cheaper through the middle of this month, an event like an
end-of-summer storm could cause a spike. And the travel club says that
50% of American adults believe that they're still paying too much if a
gallon costs $3.44.
A growing number of those traveling over the
holiday weekend will choose to fly, with 2.61 million expected to head
to the airport, a nearly 3% bump compared to 2012.
But however Americans choose to get away, they may pay more to get there and once they arrive.
cost of renting a car over the holiday weekend will average $51 a day, a
32% bump over last year, according to AAA's numbers. Tickets to fly are
up 4% compared to 2012, with the lowest round-trip ticket for the 40
most popular domestic routes costing $214 on average.
vacationers getting a room at "three diamond'' rated, upper mid-tier
hotels will likely pay 4% more than they would have last year. However,
hotels with a "two diamond'' rating from AAA will on average be cheaper
than they were in 2012, costing on average $115 a night, a 2% dip.
Charisse Jones, USA TODAY