1.2 Million Michiganians Have Labor Day Travel Plans, Says AAA

Aug 25, 2010, 07:49 ET from AAA Michigan

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 1.2 million Michiganians will travel during the 2010 Labor Day holiday, according to a recent AAA survey.  They join the approximately 34.4 million travelers – up 9.9 percent from last year -- taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home.  This year's Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 6.

Most Michigan travelers – an estimated 98 percent – will go by vehicle to enjoy "summer's last hurrah," with campgrounds and resort areas among the popular destinations.  They join the 91 percent of travelers nationally who will go by vehicle.  Travelers will find stable gas prices -- in Michigan, gas averages $2.69 per gallon (as of Aug. 24), a dime higher than last year, but $1.06 less than two years ago.

Among the top five most popular driving destinations in Michigan (based on AAA TripTik reports) this summer are, in order, Traverse City, Mackinaw City, Petoskey, Frankenmuth and Munising. Based on a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans this holiday weekend is expected to be 635 miles, slightly less than one year ago (645 miles), while median spending is expected to be $697, nearly $50 more than last year.  Dining, shopping and visiting with friends were named as three top activities for this holiday period.

"Our AAA travel agents continue to report increases in the number of travelers making advanced reservations," noted AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. "While reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, more of us are planning to travel. Hotel, car and vacation package reservations for the holiday weekend are up ten percent, compared to last year."

Air leisure travelers (an estimated 30,000) will account for some 1 percent of all travel in Michigan during the holiday weekend.  Nationally, that number increases to five percent of overall travel, with 1.62 million holiday flyers.  Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be taken by nearly two percent of Michigan travelers, and four percent of travelers nationwide.

According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, weekend daily car rental rates are up seven percent with consumers paying an average of $46.  Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six  percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $139 per night compared to $132 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels will pay two percent more at an average cost of $102 per night.  

During last year's Labor Day holiday period, 16 people died in 15 fatal crashes on roads across the state.  Four of last year's deaths were alcohol-related.  Of the 16 persons killed, two were not belted, four were motorcyclists and four were pedestrians.

To help make this year's Labor Day holiday period a safe one, AAA Michigan will once again partner with the Michigan State Police (MSP) in supporting Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).  Bright banners will be posted at various rest areas statewide, with many sites offering complimentary coffee and refreshments.  In addition,  Operation C.A.R.E. volunteers will provide information about some of the major causes of deadly crashes and how to avoid them.

AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm 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 2010 Labor Day holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

AAA Michigan offers travel, insurance and financial services to more than 1.6 million members in Michigan.  It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with approximately 4.1 million members in eight states.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization with more than 51 million members in the United States and Canada.