DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1.2 million Michigan residents will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, about one percent more than those who traveled last year. They join the 34.1 million Americans who will travel, a 4.2 percent increase from one year ago. This year's Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 29 to Monday, Sept. 2.
Most state travelers – an estimated 91 percent – will go by vehicle to enjoy "summer's last hurrah," with campgrounds, resort areas, and lakes among the favorite destinations. They join the 85 percent of travelers nationally who will go by vehicle. Travelers will find lower gas prices this holiday -- in Michigan, gas averages $3.538 per gallon (as of Aug. 20), 36 cents less than last year. However, weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, 32 percent more than last year's average of $39.
The largest share of holiday travelers will depart on Friday (August 30), with Monday (Sept. 2) the most popular date of return.
"Thanks to an increasingly positive economic outlook, we anticipate Labor Day holiday travel will be up over last year," said AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. Based on a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans this holiday weekend is expected to be 594 miles, 32 miles less than last year.
Median spending is expected to grow to $804, compared to $749 last year. Travelers expect to spend 24 percent of their budget on transportation and lodging and 21 percent on food and beverages. Labor Day holiday rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from a year ago, $161 per night this year compared to $154 last year.
Air leisure travelers will account for nearly five percent of all travel in Michigan during the holiday weekend, up slightly from last year. Nationally, eight percent will travel by air. They will find airfares increased four percent year-over-year, with an average lowest round-trip rate of $214 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be taken by the remaining four percent of Michigan travelers.
Michigan State Police report during the 2012 Labor Day holiday period, eight people died in Michigan crashes. Four of those deaths involved alcohol and four vehicle occupants were not buckled up.
To help make this year's Labor Day holiday period a safe one, AAA Michigan will again partner with Michigan State Police in supporting Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). Banners will be posted at various rest areas statewide, with many sites offering complimentary coffee and refreshments. Volunteers will provide information about the causes of crashes and how to avoid them.
AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2013 Labor Day holiday forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
SOURCE AAA Michigan