Labor Day travel predicted to top 35 million

The AAA auto club is predicting that 35.5 million U.S. residents will travel at least 50 miles away from home over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. 

The figure is a 1 percent increase over 2014 travel in the Labor Day period, which is defined as the Thursday through Monday surrounding the holiday.

AAA said the anticipated travel for 2015 would be the highest number of Labor Day travelers since 2008 if the prediction is accurate. 

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“A strong labor market coupled with greater job security and rising home prices have all helped to increase disposable income,” Chicago-based AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher said in a statement. “Though some consumers remain cautious, these positive indicators are driving a slight increase and allowing millions of Americans to travel on one last summer getaway.”

AAA attributed part of the predicted increase in Labor Day travel to lower gas prices, which the auto club has said are nearly 86 cents cheaper per gallon on average across the country than they were at this time last year. 

The auto club predicted that 30.4 million of the anticipated Labor Day travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations. 

Another 2.6 million people are predicted to be flying to their destination, which is a 1.5 percent increase over last year’s air travel numbers. Labor Day airline passengers will be facing flight ticket prices that are predicted to cost an average of $216, which is 1 percent lower than last year, according to the auto club. Hotel prices, meanwhile, are estimated to have risen to an average of about $175 per night, which the group said is approximately a 2 percent increase over last year.