AAA FORECASTS RECORD BREAKING NUMBER OF COLORADANS TRAVELING DURING YEAR-END HOLIDAYS

Denver, December 16, 2014– AAA Colorado projects 1.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of 3.2 percent increase over last year. This upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period since AAA began recording data in 2001.

The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4. The calendar is having a positive effect on the number of travelers expected this year. This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips. This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules.

Impact of gasoline prices on 90 percent of travelers
Approximately 90 percent of holiday travelers will be driving to their destinations. Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices in five years. Every state in the continental United States is posting an average price below the $3.00 per gallon benchmark. The average price in Colorado is currently $2.54 a gallon, 52 cents lower than the same day last year.

Air travel is also increasing this year as seven percent of Coloradans take to the skies.

Airfares fall seven percent this year, driven by low-cost carriers
Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year, to $186. This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets. AAA encourages consumers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments.

Hotel, car rental rates rise modestly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $138 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66, four percent higher than last year.

AAA expects to rescue 1.1 million motorists this holiday season
Between December 23 and January 4, AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists nationwide with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and information are available at AAA.com.

AAA Colorado has more than 600,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services, as well as member exclusive savings.