AAA Travel projects that more than 2.4 million New Jerseys will travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, an increase of 4.4 percent from those who traveled in 2013. Nationally, AAA expects more than 98 million to travel, the most recorded by AAA (since 2001). As with all the major holidays, automobile travel will be the dominant mode of transportation. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.
TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS:
New Jersey – 2,188,144 (90.2% of all travelers), a 4.7% increase from those who drove a year ago.
Nationally – 89.528 million (90.8% of all travelers), an increase of 4.2% over 2013.
New Jersey – 156,747 (6.5% of all travelers), an increase of 1.2% from those who flew in 2013.
Nationally – 5.717 million (5.8% of all travelers), a 1% increase from last year.
Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode
New Jersey – 81,377 (3.3% of all travelers), a 2.9% increase from last year.
Nationally – 3.351 million (3.4% of all travelers), a 3% increase from 2013.
“’Tis the season for holiday travel and this year, more people will join with friends and family to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year than ever before,” said Cathleen Lewis, Director of Public and Government Affairs, AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. “While the economy continues to improve at an uneven pace, it seems more people are looking forward with increasing consumer confidence, rather than looking back at the recession.” This is helping to drive expected travel volumes to the highest level we have seen during this time period.
“Motorists are getting the gift of lower gas prices, giving them a little more cash to spend on travel this year,” continued Lewis. “Those driving to their destinations are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2009. This is increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”
The calendar is having a positive effect on the number of travelers expected this year. Christmas and New Year’s land on Thursdays, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips. This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules.
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
At $2.47, today’s national average price of gasoline is at the lowest level in five years and 74 cents lower than last year, a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen for 85 days in a row, helping to increase Americans’ disposable income by about 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which is having a positive effect on travel. In New Jersey, motorists are paying an average of $2.45 per gallon of regular gasoline, the lowest since the same time period in 2008, when the average cost for gallon of regular gas was $1.49.
Average gas prices during the year-end holidays since 2008
Locally, the AAA New Jersey Automobile Club, headquartered in Florham Park, provides automotive, travel, insurance, financial and educational services to its nearly 400,000 members in Essex, Morris and Union Counties.Related Articles: