August 21st, 2012 by admin
Projected travel up 2.9 percent from Labor Day holiday weekend last year, highest travel volume expected since 2008 before the recession caused a retraction in Labor Day travel
ORLANDO, Fla., (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 total number of 2012 Labor Day holiday travelers is expected to reach a new post-recession high, and is the third increase in holiday travel this year, according to the AAA/IHS Global Insight 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 Americans’ unwavering desire to travel. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 30 to Monday, September 3.
“In the absence of strong economic growth that might fuel a significant boost in travel volume, it is an encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “Travel is still within America’s discretionary spending budget.”
The health of the travel industry is dependent upon discretionary spending and growth in travel has a positive effect on employment and the overall economy. In the first quarter of 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that 7.6 million jobs are supported by the travel and tourism industry. The jobs total consists of 5.4 million (71 percent) direct tourism jobs and 2.2 million (29 percent) indirect tourism-related jobs.
Impact of household finances on travel plans
A survey of intended travelers found that 66 percent said their current financial situation would
not negatively impact their Labor Day holiday weekend travel plans. Of the remaining 34 percent of travelers who said their current finances would impact their travel plans, 21 percent will economize in other areas, nine percent are planning to take a shorter trip, and the remaining four percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation. The group of surveyed travelers who reported their intent to economize in other areas plan to reduce spending on shopping and sightseeing and will stay with friends and relatives instead of reserving a hotel room. Conversely, changes in the expected primary activities of travelers this Labor Day holiday include increases in entertainment like nightlife, sporting events, concerts and golf.
Automobile travel up 3.1 percent
Approximately 28.2 million people (85 percent of holiday travelers) will make their Labor Day holiday journey by automobile, considered the most convenient mode of travel for many Americans. This is a 3.1 percent increase over the 27.3 million people who took to the nation’s roadways in 2011.
Number of air travelers expected to increase by 3.7 percent, airfares decrease
Labor Day holiday air travel has been fairly consistent since the recession bounce back began for the travel industry in 2010. About 2.55 million leisure travelers (eight percent of holiday travelers) will fly during the Labor Day weekend, a 3.7 percent increase over 2011 when 2.46 million traveled by air. In 2010, 2.6 million chose to fly to their Labor Day vacation destinations which began the steady recovery from the decade-low 1.5 million air travelers in 2009. Airfares decreased four percent over last year with an average lowest round-trip rate of $197 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.
The remaining seven percent of Labor Day holiday travelers are expected to use other modes of transportation, including cruise ship, rail and bus travel accounting for 2.3 million Americans – a nominal 0.2 percent decrease over last year.
Average travel distance increases as most travelers prefer shorter trips, spending up
According to a survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be 626 miles, up slightly from last year’s average 608 miles. Despite the longer average travel distance, most holiday travelers (54 percent) will be taking shorter-distance trips, between 100 and 400 round-trip miles. The increase in expected air travel is a contributing factor to the slight lift in the average travel distance as air trips typically span longer distances than automobile trips, many over 1,500 round-trip miles.
Median spending is expected to be $749, a small increase over the $702 median spending of intended holiday travelers in 2011.
Travelers to experience increase in hotel rates, decrease in car rental rates
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Labor Day holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $154 per night compared to $148 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay six percent more at an average cost of $117 per night. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $39, a ten percent decrease from one year ago.
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
National gas prices have fluctuated and been particularly sensitive to region variations throughout much of the year. On April 5 and 6, motorists experienced a year-to-date peak average price of $3.94 per gallon for regular gasoline. The current national average price of regular gasoline for August 20, 2012 is $3.72 per gallon, which is 22 cents less than the April peak and 14 cents more than last year’s price on August 20.
Gasoline purchases are critical expenditures in most household budgets, yet 66 percent of intended holiday travelers said their current household finances would not negatively impact their Labor Day holiday weekend travel plans. As the Labor Day holiday weekend approaches, increases in gas prices could cause some travelers to alter their plans. Conversely, falling prices could spur last-minute travel increases.
Barring any significant unforeseen events such as severe hurricanes, geopolitical incidents or dramatic nationwide price increases, gas prices are not expected to have a major impact on Labor Day holiday weekend travel. Historically, incidents that impact regional gas prices and regional travel have not impacted nationwide holiday travel.
AAA offers digital travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for 101 top North American destinations, free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from city titles, like Orlando, New York and the award-winning Las Vegas, as well as National Parks.
The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android devices uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and nearby member discounts and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn about the AAA Mobile app and AAA Mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm 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. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2012 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
August 25th, 2010 by Erin
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, August 25, 2010
Labor Day travel expected to recover from last year’s declines, all modes of transportation experience increases
AAA today projected the number of Americans traveling this Labor Day holiday weekend will increase 9.9 percent from 2009, with approximately 34.4 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 31.3 million Americans traveled during the Labor Day holiday. The 2010 Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 2 to Monday, September 6.
“While media reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, many Americans are still interested in taking one more trip as the summer travel season comes to a close,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services. “It is encouraging to see more Americans planning to travel to visit family, friends and exciting vacation destinations.”
MacDonell added, “AAA travel agents are continuing to report strong increases in the number of travelers making advanced reservations. Hotel, car and vacation package reservations for the upcoming Labor Day weekend are up over ten percent compared to last year. ”
The increase in travel for Labor Day appears to be the result of economic improvement over the past year. While job growth has been disappointing, gross domestic product, household net worth and consumer confidence have increased, while consumer debt has decreased. The U.S. travel industry began to gain traction in the fourth quarter of 2009 and that momentum has continued this year.
In addition to economic data, the date of the Labor Day holiday is another variable considered in the forecast. The earlier the holiday falls in September, the more travel tends to occur. Although the growth in Labor Day travel is predicted to be strong at 9.9 percent, had the holiday fallen earlier in the month the forecasted number of travelers would likely be even higher.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm 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. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010 Labor Day holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.
Air and car trips to increase
Trips by automobile are expected to increase in popularity with 91 percent of travelers, or 31.4 million people, reaching their destination by driving. This is an increase of 10.3 percent from last Labor Day when 28.5 million travelers went by motor vehicle. Barring any major tropical storm activity in the Gulf Coast region, AAA expects the national average price of self-serve regular gasoline to be between $2.65 and $2.75 per gallon during this holiday weekend. Leisure air travel is expected to account for just five percent of overall travel with 1.62 million holiday flyers. This is an increase of 4.6 percent from one year ago when 1.54 million flew. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by four percent of all travelers.
Median spending increases; average distance traveled decreases
Based on a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans this Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be 635 miles, slightly less than one year ago (645 miles). Median spending is expected to be $697 this Labor Day, nearly $50 more than last year when median spending was estimated at $650. Dining (63 percent); shopping (47 percent) and visiting with friends and relatives (43 percent) were named as the three top primary activities by travelers this Labor Day weekend.
Airfares, hotel and rental car rates increase over holiday compared to last year
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares over the Labor Day holiday weekend are expected to increase nine percent from last year with the lowest round-trip rates moving up to $179 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Weekend daily car rental rates will increase seven percent to an average of $46. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $139 per night compared to $132 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay two percent more at an average cost of $102 per night.
AAA offers a variety of travel planning tools including free TourBook travel guides and maps for members and the TripTik® Travel Planner, available free to all travelers at AAA.com. Three iPhone apps offer access to AAA products and services on the go. The AAA TripTik Mobile app provides gas prices, directions and information on hotels, restaurants and attractions. The AAA Discounts app, which has been downloaded more than 880,000 times, uses GPS technology to acquire a user’s location and displays nearby AAA Show Your Card & Save® locations. With AAA Roadside, AAA members requiring emergency service can quickly send their location, vehicle description and specific breakdown details directly to AAA. The free apps are available for download at the iTunes Store.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
AAA to Rescue Nearly a Half Million Motorists over Memorial Day Holiday Weekend as Summer Driving Season Kicks Off
May 25th, 2010 by Erin
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, May 25, 2010
Motor club anticipates helping 9.3 million stranded motorists during summer driving season and reminds drivers that auto maintenance is key to avoid breakdowns at home or away
AAA estimates it will come to the rescue of nearly a half million stranded motorists during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. With 28 million Americans expected to travel by car during the holiday, many travelers could be left stranded away from home this weekend.
“Whether traveling or near home, the best way to avoid your vehicle leaving you stranded is with a little preventative maintenance,” said John Nielsen, AAA director of auto repair and buying services. “Taking care of your vehicle now can not only prevent the hassle of a breakdown, but also can cost far less than a major repair that might be needed if vehicle upkeep is ignored.”
AAA expects it will jump start 56,000 auto batteries this weekend and replace an additional 22,000 batteries with its AAA Mobile Battery Service. The motor club will change 70,000 flat tires during the holiday weekend and retrieve keys for nearly 81,000 motorists who lock them inside their vehicle. And while AAA’s well trained roadside technicians will be able to get three out of five motorists back on the go, 200,000 vehicles will end up requiring a tow—thousands for reasons that could have been prevented with proper maintenance.
Over entire summer driving season between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, AAA will rescue roughly 9.3 million stranded motorists.
Find problems before they arise
Whether planning a summer road trip or continuing a regular commute to work, AAA recommends two fundamental things motorists can do to decrease the likelihood of their vehicle leaving them stranded:
- Have your vehicle serviced regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This is the best way to catch problems before they arise.
- Identify a quality repair shop, and use that facility for all of your vehicle repairs and maintenance. Repeated use of a trustworthy shop allows a motorist to develop a good working relationship with the service staff, and allows the repair technicians to get to know the vehicle and make needed service recommendations in a timely manner.
AAA offers a free public service to help consumers find quality auto repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can either look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA Approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair.
Easy maintenances and checks for motorists
While some maintenance and repair tasks are best left to certified automotive technicians, there are several basic items motorists can easily check themselves between trips to their auto repair facility.
Engine Air Filter – A dirty air filter was the most frequent problem found during AAA car care inspections in 2009. A dirty or clogged air filter restricts airflow and reduces engine performance. A damaged filter, or one that does not seal properly in its housing, will allow unfiltered air to enter the engine. This can lead to increased engine wear and, in some applications, damage to electronic engine control components.
Check the air filter every six months or 7,500 miles by holding it up to a 100-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.
Windshield Washer Fluid – Low or no windshield wiper fluid was the number two problem AAA found during its car care inspections. Rain, insects, grime and other debris on a windshield will compromise the driver’s vision if the windshield wipers cannot remove them. A supply of the proper washer fluid, delivered effectively to the glass, helps the wipers remove these contaminants.
Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly or more often if the washers are used frequently. Top it up with a solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris. Be sure to test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim before hitting the road.
Tire Pressure – Over- or under-inflated tires were the number three problem found during AAA car care inspections last year. More than 21 percent of the vehicles checked had one or more tires with incorrect air pressure. Proper inflation will make tires last longer and delay the need to buy new ones. Plus, correct tire pressures will help maximize a vehicle’s fuel economy, while ensuring optimum ride and handling for comfort and safety.
Check and adjust tire pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold—including the spare. Always inflate tires to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings—not the maximum pressure molded on the side of the tire. The manufacturer’s recommendations can be found on a sticker on the driver’s door jam or in the owner’s manual.
Tire Tread – Tires with not enough tread depth were in the top five of AAA’s list of vehicle concerns. Having good tires with sufficient tread depth is crucial, particularly in wet road conditions. Worn tires with shallow tread are much more likely to hydroplane on wet pavement, resulting in a loss of braking power and steering control.
Check the tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove with Washington’s head facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any of the area above Washington’s head is visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. Always check the tread at several points around the tire and across its width, and use the lowest reading.
Uneven or excessive wear of the tire tread may indicate the need for suspension repair or wheel alignment, both of which will extend the life of a vehicle’s tires.
Battery – Battery problems were a frequently seen issue during AAA’s car care inspections. Summer heat breaks down the battery internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on vehicle’s battery terminals. Both of these conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available, and leave a motorist stranded without warning.
Check the battery cables to ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are any signs of corrosion. It is not enough to simply remove external corrosion; proper cleaning requires disconnecting the cables to clean the areas where their ends contact the battery terminals.
Depending on the local climate and vehicles usage patterns, most car batteries have a three to five year service life. If your battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle, have it tested at a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop or by the AAA Mobile Battery Service to determine if it is time for a replacement.
Windshield Wiper Blades – Also in AAA’s top-10 vehicle problem areas, windshield wipers are easy to overlook until motorists find themselves in a pounding rainstorm. If wiper blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.
Check the wiper blades at every oil change or whenever they fail to wipe the glass clean in a single swipe. The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain and ozone. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and replacement is needed.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.