DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 22, 2012 /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 33 million Americans who will travel, a 2.9 percent increase from one year ago. This year's Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 30 to Monday, Sept. 3.
Most state travelers – an estimated 92 percent – will go by vehicle to enjoy "summer's last hurrah," with resort areas, campgrounds, and lakes among the popular destinations. They join the 85 percent of travelers nationally who will go by vehicle. Travelers will find higher gas prices this holiday -- in Michigan, gas averages $3.866 per gallon (as of Aug. 22), 21 cents more than last year.
"We are encouraged by all of the signs of a rebound in state travel this year," said Steve Wagner, AAA Michigan President. "There is a pent-up demand for travel and our economy is improving. We expect our summer tourism will be up over last year." Based on a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans this holiday weekend is expected to be 626 miles, slightly more than last year's 608 miles. However, more travelers indicated they would take shorter trips this holiday, averaging between 100 and 400 round-trip miles.
Median spending is expected to be $749, a small increase over the $702 median spending of holiday travelers in 2011. Labor Day holiday rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from a year ago, $154 per night this year compared to $148 last year.
Air leisure travelers will account for some four percent of all travel in Michigan during the holiday weekend, up from one percent last year. Nationally, eight percent will travel by air. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be taken by the remaining four percent of Michigan travelers, and seven percent nationally.
Michigan State Police report during last year's Labor Day holiday period, 12 people died in 11 fatal crashes on roads across the state, down from 21 fatalities the previous year. Four of last year's deaths were alcohol-related.
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). 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 the 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 2012 Labor Day holiday forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.