Jump in consumer spending, housing turnaround credited for travel uptick

The number of travelers expected to take trips longer than 50 miles for the Labor Day holiday is expected to increase by 1.4 million people over last year. 

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The AAA is forecasting that 34.1 million people will take holiday trips, up from 32.7 million who took similar trips during the long weekend last year.

The auto club said the expected increase is the largest year-to-year jump since holiday travel began declining during the 2009 recession.

AAA attributed the higher travel forecast to a jump in consumer spending and a turnaround in the U.S. housing market.

“AAA is forecasting a lift in Labor Day travel this year due to the increasingly positive economic outlook and optimism in the housing market,” AAA President Robert Darbelnet said in a statement. 

“For many Americans, their home is also their biggest asset, as home prices improve in many parts of the country more families are feeling comfortable about traveling this Labor Day holiday.”

AAA is predicting that 29.1 million people will travel for Labor Day by car, compared to 2.6 million people who will take flights for their trip.

Forty-six percent of the holiday travelers were expected to have departed for their destinations on Friday, while 43 percent are projected to be planning to return on Monday.

The average length of a Labor Day trip is expected to be 594 miles and cost $800, according to AAA.