More Holiday Travelers Hitting the Road This Season

If you thought the highways seemed a little more crowded this holiday season, you were right.

This season, travel group AAA anticipates an increase in the amount of holiday travelers hitting the road, for the fifth consecutive year. According to AAA’s 2013 holiday travel forecast, 94.5 million Americans will venture 50 miles or more from home during the 12-day holiday-travel period from December 21 through January 1.

According to the group’s Chief Operating Officer, Marshall L. Doney, “AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the New Year.”

These are record numbers—especially for drivers, so be prepared for crowded roads and busy highways as you travel during the final weeks of December. About 91 percent of those traveling (85.8 million people) will be driving to their destinations; that’s an increase of 0.9 percent over the number of drivers who took to the roads last season. Overall, AAA predicts that one in four Americans will drive somewhere for the holiday.

Adversely, it appears that this will be a slower holiday season for the airline industry. Fewer travelers will fly this year compared to 2012, says AAA. With about 5.53 million travelers flying during the holiday, air travel is projected to decrease 1.4 percent. Air travel will make up about 6 percent of total holiday travel this year.

There is some good news for drivers, however. Gas prices, says AAA, are lower than they were during the holiday-travel season last year. According to the forecast, “Prices should decline by the end of the year due to rising supplies and increased refinery production.”

Will you be traveling for the holidays? By plane, train, or automobile?

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By Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today, the Boston Globe,,, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and, among other publications.

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