More than 35.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2008 and a one percent increase over 2014 according to an AAA Chicago Travel forecast. AAA Chicago is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG) and the second largest AAA club in North America.

AAAWhile the majority of travelers (30.4 million, 86 percent of all travelers) will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close, air travel is also projected to grow 1.5 percent this holiday. Over 2.6 million travelers are expected to travel by air, making this the largest volume of air travel since 2007 for this holiday period. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 3 to Monday, September 7.

Highlights from 2015 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:
• Historically, when Labor Day weekend falls later in the calendar, Americans have shown less inclination to travel. As Labor Day falls on September 7, the latest possible day it can occur, the overall travel growth potential is dampened somewhat this year.
• Rising wages and falling gas prices have helped boost disposable income, which has risen 3.5 percent over last year, but some consumers are using that money to save and pay debts.
• Automobile travel will increase by 1.1 percent this year, with 30.4 million travelers hitting the road.
• Nearly 7.4 percent of travelers (2.6 million) will travel by air, a 1.5 percent increase from last year.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates are expected to average higher this Labor Day holiday, while the cost of a flight is slightly lower.
• AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to be the highest in five years, increasing 2 percent from one year ago, with travelers spending an average of $175 compared to $171.
• The average rate for Two Diamond properties increased 10% from Labor Day 2014. Year-to-date through August, the average rate for Two Diamond hotels has increased 9%. The $138 average is 13 dollars higher than last year, and the highest for this holiday in the past five years.
• Airfares are down 1 percent, with the average round-trip discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $216, down from $219 last year.
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.


SOURCE:AAA Chicago/ BussinesWire

PHOTO:Labor Day travelers (Graphic: Business Wire)