More NJ Residents Predicted To Hit The Roads For Christmas

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Photo credit: Raleene Cabrera

STATE – AAA Mid-Atlantic projections indicate that over 2.2 million New Jersey residents will travel 50 miles or more from home for Christmas and New Year’s, a 2.6% increase compared to the 2009 holiday season. The 2010 year-end holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Dec. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 2.

For 2010, over 2.2 million New Jerseyans will take to the roads, rails and skies, AAA Mid-Atlantic says.

Travel by transportation mode:

By Automobile:

  • 2,066,000; or, 93.2% of all travelers
  • Up 2.6% compared to 2009.

By Air:

  • 80,000; or, 3.6% of all travelers.
  • Up 2.6% compared to 2009.

By Other Mode:

  • 71,000; or, 3.2% of all travelers.
  • Unchanged compared to 2009.

“It’s great to see so many Americans taking to the roads, rails and skies this holiday season, especially since this is the fifth consecutive holiday period this year in which AAA has predicted a year-over-year increase,” said Tracy E. Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “After a challenging year in 2009, a modestly improved economic environment and pent-up demand resulted in more Americans traveling in 2010, and the year-end holidays are no exception.”

According to a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans during the year-end holidays is expected to be 1,052 miles, which is 33 percent more than last year’s average travel distance of 791 miles. Median spending is expected to be $694. Median spending a year ago was $670. Similar to Thanksgiving, a majority of survey respondents (75 percent) reported that the main purpose of their upcoming trip was a visit with friends or family.

“Gas prices on the verge of $3.00, albeit not jolly, will not be the Grinch that stole the merriment of the season,” Noble added.  “People are heading home for the holidays and increases at the pump will not deter visits with friends and family.” The current price for full-serve regular gasoline in New Jersey is $2.94 per gallon, compared to last year’s price of $2.50, an increase of 44 cents per gallon.

Trips by automobile are the dominant mode of transportation for holiday travel in New Jersey with 93.2 % of travelers reaching their destination by driving. This is an increase of 2.6% from last Christmas.

Nationally, year-end travel is forecast to increase 3.1% to 92.3million folks. Last year, 89.5 million Americans traveled during the Christmas holiday season.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010-11 Year-End Holiday Travel forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.


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