More than 1.8 Million Coloradans to Celebrate Holidays Away from Home

Holiday period marks a record-shattering end to a record-breaking travel year


DENVER (December 20, 2017) – In what will be the highest year-end travel volume on record, AAA Colorado forecasts 1.8 million Coloradans will take to planes, trains, automobiles and other forms of transportation during the year-end holiday travel period from Saturday, Dec. 23 through Monday, January 1. 2017 marks the ninth consecutive year of rising year-end holiday travel. Since 2005, total year-end travel volume has grown by 21.6 million travelers nationwide, an increase of more than 25 percent.

"2017 has blown nearly every single travel record out of the water," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. "Travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving – and the same is going to be doubly true for the year-end holiday period. A strong economy, growing consumer confidence, and cheaper hotel and airfare rates are together propelling holiday travel to new heights."

For the 1.7 million Coloradans traveling by automobile, AAA Colorado predicts travel times during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the normal trip.

By the Numbers: 2017 Year-End Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: The majority of travelers – 1.7 million – will hit the road (a 3.3 percent year-over-year increase).
  • Planes: 640,000 people will travel by air, a 4.1 percent increase over 2016 and the fourth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses, Rails, and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 2.2 percent to 66,000.


Worst Times to Travel

Based on historical and recent travel trends, AAA Colorado expects drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week, especially in the late afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 21 as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

Pricey Pump Prices to Decrease

The 90 percent of holiday travelers choosing to drive will find the most expensive year-end gas prices since 2014. In Colorado, motorists can expect to pay $2.45 for a gallon of regular gasoline, which is 32 cents more expensive than this time last year. The good news? AAA expects the average to drop at least another five cents by year-end, saving motorists a few pennies at the pump.

Get Where You're Going – No Matter the Weather

With cold weather set to bear down on much of Colorado for much of the year-end travel period, it's more important than ever that Colorado motorists make sure their vehicles are safe for whatever winter has in store.

Winter Car Care Checklist

  • Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather.
  • Battery Cables and Terminals – Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion, and the connections are tight.
  • Tire Pressure – Check tire inflation pressure more frequently in fall and winter. As the temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner's manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver's side door jamb. Also, check the spare.
  • Tire Type and Tread – Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions, provided they have adequate tread depth.
  • Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level with a tester available at most auto parts stores.
  • Wiper Blades – The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. Consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that may prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
  • Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution which contains antifreeze components to prevent freezing.
  • Drive Belts – Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib "serpentine" belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals or as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Engine Hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or feel spongy.
  • Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs so you can see and be seen in dark or winter weather conditions.


Winter Emergency Road Kit

Now is also a great time to begin assembling an emergency kit equipped for winter weather to carry in your vehicle. Did someone say, "stocking stuffer?" Ok, maybe not. Still, you'll want to make sure you've got a kit that includes:

  • Fully-charged mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, along with a car charger
  • Drinking water
  • First-aid kit
  • Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Snow boots
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent – winter formulation with antifreeze components
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning devices (flares or reflective triangles)
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)


About AAA Colorado
More than 660,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most prominent advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit