AAA says more traffic, cheaper gas for holiday period

A record 99 million Americans – including 4.1 million from New England– expect to travel more than 50 miles during the upcoming Christmas andNew Year’s holiday season, says a spokeswoman for AAA Southern New England.

In its annual national holiday travel survey, AAA predicts 98.6 million folks – a 4% increase compared to this time last year – will drive, fly or take some other mode of transportation to visit friends and relatives from December 23 – January 4, tyhe spokeswoman, Fran Mayko said.

That would be the highest holiday traffic volume on record, and the most since 2009, she said.

Motorists will make up the bulk of the travelers, and account for most of the increase but airlines expect a 1 percent increase in passengers during the holiday period.

“Lower gas prices; an improving economy; increased consumer confidence and a greater disposable income are all driving travel volume this year,” Mayko said.

.The calendar is also having a positive effect. “Christmas falls on a Thursday, creating a more flexible travel season that’s a day longer than last year and the longest since 2008. As a result, travelers have more options for departures and return trips,” the AAA spokeswoman said.

Year end infographic



Frank Juliano