Sixty-six percent of people who plan to travel over the Labor Day weekend… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles…)
Despite a still-unsteady economy and a boost in fuel costs, Americans are expected to travel in big numbers over the Labor Day holiday.
During the weekend of Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, the automobile information and advocacy group AAA forecasts, 33 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home, a 2.9% increase over last year.
The forecast suggests Americans have shaken off anxiety over the economy and are spending on travel again. The AAA, in a statement, attributed this to improving consumer confidence and "Americans' unwavering desire to travel."
The increase comes despite a national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline of $3.72 as of Tuesday. That was 24 cents more than a month earlier and 15 cents more than the same time in 2011.
The AAA forecast was based partly on a survey of 1,350 households, taken from July 16 to 20.
Of those who planned to travel, 66% said their current financial situation would not negatively affect their Labor Day travel plans. Of those who said their financial situation would affect their plans, 21% said they would save money by shopping less and staying with family members. Nine percent plan on taking shorter trips.
About 28 million Americans, or 85% of vacationers, will travel by car for the holiday, an increase of 3.1% over last year, the AAA forecast said. An additional 2.55 million Americans will travel by plane, a 3.7% increase over 2011, the group said.