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AAA Predicting Travel to Decline for Holiday

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June 27, 2011 by   Leave a Comment

There will be fewer people on roads, beaches and airports to crowd Independence Day travelers, according to the latest travel forecast from AAA.

AAA is predicting a 2.5% decline in trips more than 50 miles from home during the July 4 travel period, which it defines as June 30-July 4. AAA believes about 39 million Americans will travel during the holiday weekend.

The predicted decline is a dramatic swing from the same time last year, when AAA forecast a 17.1% increase in July 4 travel.

Despite recent moderation in fuel prices, AAA attributes the change in travel plans to gas prices that are about $1 more per gallon more than a year ago. The organization says that, based on its survey conducted by IHS Global Insight, households with incomes of $50,000 or less will show the largest declines in holiday travel plans as fuel prices eat up a larger portion of their budgets.

Last year, households with incomes less than $50,000 accounted for 41% of all July 4 holiday trips; this year, the percentage is expected to be 33%. Households with incomes of more than $100,000 take up the slack, rising 9 percentage points this year to account for 35% of Independence Day travel.

The shift to a higher proportion of well-off travelers is likely responsible for the reported plans to increase holiday travel spending by about 25% over last year, to a median $807. AAA’s survey said higher spending is expected across the travel industry sector and is not attributable solely to higher fuel costs.

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