[UPDATE] August 31, 2012
The highly traveled Labor Day weekend has arrived.
A new report by AAA predicts 33 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their homes this weekend. That's up 2.9 percent from 2011 and could set a post-recession high.
Travelers today sure didn't seem to let the spike in gas prices or Hurricane Isaac get in their way of Labor Day plans.
And judging by the crowds at the gas stations-it seems most people will be hitting the roads to get where they need to be!
Dozens of drivers waited their turn to fill up at the pump. At one point-there was even a line just to enter the gas station.
Said Alex Bexly, one holiday traveler: It's a great time, getting on the road, getting the kids together, getting to spend that time together in the van.
Said Franklin Lister, another traveler: "It did cut some of our trip out. We had to cancel some stuff in Kingsbay, Georgia, but we're back on track."
"It's not been bad at all. It's been kind of light. Better than I expected with the weather," said John Bailey, another traveler.
Commented another driver, Booker Daniels, on traffic: "It's been okay. So far, just a couple people in front of me, but it hasn't been a real problem."
Employees at Tallahassee Regional Airport say so far, volumes have been slow, but steady-something travelers don't seem to mind.
According to that travel forecast by Triple A, this year's expected increase in travelers is driven by improving consumer confidence compared to one year ago. No matter what, Americans can't seem to shake their desire to travel.
Tampa, Florida- August 21, 2012
AAA Travel projects 33 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.9 percent increase from the 32.1 million people who traveled last year. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 30 to Monday, September 3. Click here to view the full travel survey. See below for state-specific travel projections.
The expected rise in Labor Day travel is the third projected increase in holiday travel this year, according to AAA’s 2012 Labor Day Holiday Travel Forecast. AAA’s Memorial Day and Independence Day holiday travel forecasts projected increases of 1.2 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.
Despite a sluggish economy and recent rises in gas prices, the increase in expected Labor Day holiday weekend travelers is driven by improving consumer confidence compared to one year ago and American’s unwavering desire to travel. The U.S. consumer sentiment index increased more than expected according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan report, and is expected to increase during the next six months.
“Although overall economic growth continues to move at a sluggish pace, it is encouraging to see so many Americans value and prioritize travel,” said Brent Hubele, vice president, AAA Travel, The Auto Club Group. “The health of the travel and tourism industry is a vital contributor to our economic recovery and supports almost 8 million jobs across the nation.”