More than 103 million Americans — the most on record — are expected to travel for the year-end holidays, according to AAA.
The auto club projects about 1.5 million more people will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 compared to last year.
The increase is being driven by additional consumer spending, a result of improvements in the labor market and rising wages. Additionally, low gas prices and increased consumer optimism will prompt more Americans than ever to set out on road trips, take to the skies, or board trains, buses, and cruise ships to celebrate the holidays.
In our region (Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin), AAA says there will be 17.2 million travelers. Of those, 15.7 million will take to the roads.
Gas prices right now are down 21 centers on average from New Year’s Day 2016. Most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest New Year’s Day gas prices since 2009, when the national average was $1.62.
But you need to be careful. AAA expects to rescue more than 980,000 motorists over the 11-day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts.