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Archive for Friday, August 29, 2008

On the road: AAA anticipates trips close to home this weekend

August 29, 2008

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Don't expect to see as many out-of-state license plates joining you on the road this Labor Day weekend.

AAA, a travel organization with more than 51 million members, projects that the number of Americans traveling more than 50 miles from home this holiday weekend will be down 0.9 percent from a year ago.

The three-day weekend is lining up to be the third consecutive summer holiday with fewer vacationers making long trips, after Independence Day and Memorial Day also saw declines.

"Travelers are continuing to plan trips closer to home," said Jim Hanni, executive vice president for AAA's Kansas Region.

Among the factors driving the decline are heightened economic concerns and rising costs, including high fuel prices, AAA said.

Included in AAA's forecast for the holiday weekend:

¢ About 28.64 million Americans - a little more than 83 percent of all holiday travelers in the U.S. - plan to travel by automobile, a decline of 1.1 percent from a year ago.

¢ Air travel will draw a projected 3.96 million vacationers, down 4.5 percent from a year ago as carriers have cut schedules, increased fares and tacked on additional fees. Fares are up 15 percent from a year ago.

¢ Travel by bus, train and other modes is picking up. Such travel is expected to rise by 15 percent compared with last year, but still remain a relatively small share of activity. Only 5 percent of travelers plan to opt for some mode of transportation other than automobile or plane.

¢ Room rates for high-quality hotels are unchanged from a year ago.

AAA's projections are generated using a model from the Travel Industry Association, and are based on surveys conducted with 2,000 adults nationwide and another 6,500 from top-traveling states.

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