AAA forecasts 31.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.4 percent decrease from the 32.3 million people who traveled one year ago.
The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 1st to Monday, September 5th.
In Illinois, 1.7 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 2.6 percent decrease from 2010. Of those travelers, just under 1.6 million will be driving (a .1 percent increase from 2010) and just over 69,000 (a 2.3 percent decrease from 2010) will be flying to their destination. Gas prices across Illinois are on average $3.75, up from $2.79 in 2010.
In Indiana, 738,000 people are expected to travel, which is a 1.8 percent decrease from 2010. Of those, 674,000 are expected to travel by auto (1.0 percent increase) and almost 25,000 by air (1.4 percent decrease). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $3.61 per gallon, up from $2.62 in 2010.
“AAA is projecting a decrease in the number of Labor Day travelers as some Americans react to recent economic uncertainty and increasing air fares,” said Brad Roeber, regional president of AAA Chicago. “While automobile travel is expected to increase slightly, if recent declines in gasoline prices continue through Labor Day, we could see an increase in last-minute holiday weekend travel.”
The decrease in expected travelers is a result of a mixed economic outlook, consumer uncertainty regarding the overall economy, and recent downturns in economic factors that affect discretionary income, which is particularly relevant to the travel and tourism industry.
Real disposal income is up just 1.3 percent, which is being offset by the travel price index rising 6.7 percent since last year, due primarily to rising transportation costs.
The housing market remains depressed, with new and existing home prices down 2.4 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.