AAA projects drop in holiday travel

AAA projects drop in holiday travel AAA estimates 53.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Christmas-New Year's, compared to 57.1 million last year � a drop in overall travel of 6 percent.

Approximately 42.2 million people are projected to travel by automobile, which is down one percent from last year; the remaining 11.5 million people plan to travel by airplane, train or bus compared to 14.4 million last year, down 20 percent from last year.

According to AAA, the current recession and the nation's unemployment situation are major contributors to the expected decline in holiday travel, although continued concerns about air travel security by some Americans also are a factor.

Spurred in part by gas prices that have fallen to their lowest level since March 1999, 79 percent of those traveling this holiday will go by auto compared to 75 percent one year ago.

The nationwide average price of gasoline Dec. 11 was about $1.13 per gallon. This is down nearly 40 cents from a year ago. The average price of gasoline in South Dakota Dec. 11 was about $1.15, with Sioux Falls prices averaging $1.11 and Rapid City prices at about $1.18 per gallon.

The AAA holiday travel projections are based on a Travel Industry Association national survey of 1,300 adults.

AAa is a not for profit federation of more than 80 clubs with more than 1,000 offices providing 43 million members in the United States and Canada with travel, insurance, financial and auto-related services. AAA South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Madison, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

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