Estimated 2.9 million Michigan residents plan year-end holiday travel, reports AAA

Dec 13, 2012, 08:56 ET from AAA Michigan

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 2.9 million Michigan residents -- slightly more than 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 93.3 million Americans will travel, up 1.6 percent from a year ago.


The 11-day year-end holiday period is the longest holiday travel season of the year, allowing residents time to visit family or enjoy vacations.  AAA defines this year's holiday travel season as Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 to Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

Most Michigan travelers will go by car, truck or van to destinations this year -- 91 percent compared to 90 percent nationally.  Seven percent will go by air, up slightly from last year, while the rest will travel by bus or train.  Michigan motorists can expect to pay about four cents more for a gallon of gas ($3.357 as of December 13), compared to last year.

During the holiday travel period, Americans plan to travel an average 760 miles roundtrip. Median spending per household is expected to be $759, up from $718. Transportation costs represent about 29 cents of every travel dollar.

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 to stay at hotels will find average prices two percent higher than last year.  According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond (mid-range) lodgings over the year-end holidays will average $129 per night. 

According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, year-end holiday airfares are expected to be three percent less than last year, with an average lowest round-trip rate of $203 for the top 40 U.S. air routes.  However, daily car rental rates are $56 on average, compared to $40 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 2012-13 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at

During last year's Christmas holiday period, there were eight traffic fatalities reported by the Michigan State Police.  Of the eight fatal crashes, four involved alcohol.  Five of those fatalities were unbelted.

Last New Year's holiday period, Michigan State Police reported 14 fatalities in 13 fatal crashes.  Five of those crashes were alcohol related while two of those killed were unbelted.

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.