AAA’s latest travel forecast predicts that more than 2.5 million Mountain West residents will travel 50 miles or more from their homes this upcoming three-day Labor Day weekend. This represents an overall increase of 5.4 percent compared to last year.
“This resurgence of travel is partly due to improved consumer confidence, which is at a much higher level than 2012,” said AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “Although there are lingering budgetary concerns, Utahans will not let this last opportunity to celebrate summer go back without a quick holiday getaway.”
This year Labor Day trips by automobile will be the preferred mode of transportation with more than 2.1 million Mountain West residents driving to reach their destinations. This represents a 5.5 percent increase compared to 2012. More than 217,000 are planning to travel by air, an increase of 3.8 percent compared to last year. Approximately 210,000 Mountain West residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft. This represents an increase of 5.4 percent over 2012.
Nationally, AAA projects just over 34 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the Labor Day weekend, representing a 4.2 percent increase compared to 2012.
The AAA Leisure Travel Index shows that airfares over Labor Day weekend are expected to increase by 4.0 percent, with an average cost of $214 per ticket. Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to average $161 per night, an increase of 4.0 percent from a year ago. Weekend car rentals are expected to increase 32 percent, with a new average daily rate of $51. The expenditures for a Mountain West family of four are expected to average $670 over the weekend, and the average road trip is predicted to cover 1,060 miles.
AAA’s survey shows that, hiking, touring and sightseeing, visiting family and friends, and shopping will be the preferred leisure activities for Mountain West families. Other favorite activities over the weekend are expected to be biking, hiking and sightseeing.
AAA Tips for Stress-Free Road Travel
Plan Ahead. Carefully consider your route to determine departure and arrival times, taking into account the expected higher level of congestion on the roads. Try to avoid morning and evening rush hours in heavily populated areas.
Carry a Basic Tool Kit: Some good items to include are a hammer, a rubber mallet, an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, wire cutters, a pair of needle-nose pliers, some baling wire, a can of WD-40 and a rag.
Bring a "Pet Kit" When Traveling with Pets: Include food, a bowl, a leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, treats, and a favorite toy or pillow. Stop every couple of hours to let it stretch its legs, use the bathroom and expend some pent-up energy.
Pack Light: Avoid putting anything on the roof because the drag from such luggage can decrease fuel economy up to 21 percent. Before departing, check to see that your tires are properly inflated and examine your owner's manual for fuel octane requirements. If your car only needs regular unleaded, then you're just wasting money by fueling up with premium.
Avoid Being A Target: It only takes one burglary to put a damper on your road trip. Criminals sometimes target cars with travel materials like roadmaps in the front seat and tourists who look confused. At hotels and restaurants, try to park your car where you can keep an eye on it, especially if you have luggage in or on top of your vehicle. If you need to stop for a food or bathroom break, choose rest areas, gas stations, restaurants that are busy and well lit.