AAA Chicago Expects Record Christmas-New Year’s Travel

Modest Increase in Air and Auto Travel Tops Last Year’s Record

AURORA, Ill., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ — The higher cost of travel won’t keep Americans from taking trips during the Christmas-New Year’s holidays. According to AAA’s most recent Leisure Travel Index poll, some 63.5 million Americans say they will journey 50 miles or more from home for either Christmas and/or New Year’s. This is a modest 1.7 percent increase from the 62.42 million who traveled this time last year. AAA’s poll also indicated that an estimated 51.54 million people, or 81 percent of all holiday travelers, will go by motor vehicle.

“This year’s calendar is great for holiday travel,” says Kris Lathan, AAA Chicago’s director of public affairs. “Christmas and New Year’s both fall on a Sunday, creating a pair of long weekends, and this year Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s all fall between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Indeed, we are experiencing record-high yuletide gas prices, but they’ve dropped dramatically in recent months, and gasoline remains a relatively small part of most family travel budgets when compared to the cost of hotels, amusement park tickets, ski-lift tickets, and so forth.”

As of Dec. 14, in Illinois a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.22. That’s up from $1.83 a year ago. In Indiana, motorists can expect to pay $2.18 per gallon, which is up from $1.70 in 2004.

Approximately 8.75 million Americans, or 14 percent of holiday travelers, expect to fly. The remaining 3.21 million holiday travelers say they’ll utilize train, bus or another mode of transportation. And, according to AAA.com’s online hotel booking services, travelers’ top holiday destinations include, Orlando; Las Vegas; Los Angeles/Anaheim; New York City; San Francisco; San Diego; Chicago; Ft. Lauderdale; Boston and Nashville.

Residents of Illinois and Indiana, along with other Great Lakes region residents, will account for an estimated 8.19 million of auto travelers. AAA’s Great Lakes region also encompasses Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio.

Lathan says because the vast majority of holiday travelers will go by motor vehicle, it’s essential to remember to drive responsibly. For the fourth year running, AAA is distributing its “Great Pretenders Party Guide”, which features imaginative non-alcoholic recipes from AAA Diamond-rated properties and tips to help hosts monitor their guests’ alcohol consumption. The guide keeps with AAA’s plight for responsible driving and our campaign to end drunk- driving deaths.

For your free copy of the “Great Pretenders Party Guide” please visit any AAA Chicago branch location throughout Illinois and Northwest Indiana or simply call (866) YOUR-AAA (968-7222).

AAA Chicago celebrates 100 years of service in 2006. Formed in 1906, AAA Chicago represents roadway interests for motorists and pedestrians and serves their leading advocate for various traffic safety and travel-related issues. For more information on high gas prices and money-saving tips, please visit our Web site at http://www.aaa.com/ or call us toll-free at 1-877-YOUR AAA (968-7222).

AAA Chicago offers automotive, travel, insurance and financial services. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG clubs belong to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization, with more than 48 million members in the United States and Canada.

Related Articles