Labor Day Travel Expected to Hit Post-Recession High

The number of travelers this upcoming Labor Day weekend should be the highest in four years, thanks to a better housing market and more consumer spending, according to AAA Travel.

More than 34 million people are forecast to take a trip of at least 50 miles between Thurs., Aug, 29, and Mon., Sept. 2—a 4.2 percent increase from last year.

“For many Americans, their home is their biggest asset,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet.” As home prices improve in many parts of the country, more families are feeling comfortable about traveling this Labor Day holiday.”

cars on highway

The travel forecast, which AAA prepared with the research group IHS Global Insight, is the highest since 2009. In 2008, before the worst of the financial crisis hit, more than 45 million people took a trip during the Labor Day weekend. That number dropped to 31.3 million in 2009.

Most of this year’s travelers will be on the road: Eighty-five percent, or 29.2 million people, plan to make their trip by car. Meanwhile, more than 2.61 million will be boarding a plane to reach their destination.

While vacationers expect to go a shorter distance this year than last, they’ll be spending more. They plan to travel an average distance of 594 miles, 32 miles less than in 2012. But they aim to spend about $804, compared with $749 last year.

And how do they intend to spend their time? According to AAA: dining, visiting with friends and shopping.

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