DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 2.9 million Michigan residents – on par with last year – will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Christmas holiday period, according to AAA's latest travel survey. Nationwide, AAA forecasts 94.5 million Americans will travel, an increase of 0.6 percent. The year-end holiday period is defined as Saturday, December 21 to Wednesday, January 1.
Most Michigan travelers will go by car, truck or van to destinations this year -- 92 percent compared to 91 percent nationally. Six percent will go by air, down slightly from last year, while the rest will travel by bus or train. Michigan motorists can expect to pay about 12 cents less for a gallon of gas ($3.14 as of December 16), compared to last year.
During the holiday travel period, Americans plan to travel an average 805 miles roundtrip, up 45 miles from last year. Median spending per household is expected to be $765, up from $759.
Most surveyed reported the main purpose of their trip was to visit family or friends. While many indicate they will stay with family or friends, those planning hotel stays will find average prices relatively flat. According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond (mid-range) lodgings over the year-end holidays will average $138 per night, compared to $142 last year. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $63, compared to $55 last year.
Those traveling by air will find airfares slightly lower than last year. During Christmas week, the average lowest round-trip rate is $199 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, compared to $204 last year.
AAA projections are based on economic forecasting and research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2013/14 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
During last year's Christmas holiday period, there were nine traffic fatalities in seven fatal crashes reported by the Michigan State Police. Five of the fatalities involved alcohol. Last New Year's holiday period, Michigan State Police reported 15 fatalities in 13 fatal crashes, with five of the fatalities also involving alcohol.
AAA Michigan urges motorists to allow extra time, buckle safety belts, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol during the upcoming holidays. If plans call for a holiday gathering, hosts should make sure guests do not drink and drive.
SOURCE AAA Michigan