AAA forecasts 94.5 million Christmas travelers

More than 94 million people will travel more than 50 miles away from home over the Christmas holiday, AAA said Tuesday.

The projection includes 85.8 million people who are expected to drive to their destinations between Dec. 21 and Jan. 1, 2014, and another 5.53 million that are projected to fly.

The expected travel numbers represent a 0.6 percent increase over Christmas 2012, the auto association said. 

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AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall Doney said the holiday travel numbers would be up this year despite economic concerns travelers might have.

“While economic growth has stagnated and consumer confidence has fallen Americans will not be Scrooges when it comes to traveling this year,” Doney said in a statement. “AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the New Year.”

Doney said AAA's history of studying holiday travel showed that Christmas was the least likely to be effected by external factors.

“Of all the travel holidays, the year-end holiday season remains the least volatile as Americans will not let economic conditions dictate their travel plans to celebrate the holidays," he said.

The average distance that is expected to be traveled is 805 miles, which is an increase over 760 miles last year.