Oklahoma News
8:18 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

AAA Predicts 2 Percent Boost In Labor Day Travel

Driving north on I35.
Driving north on I35.
Credit pcol / Wikipedia Commons

AAA estimates 408,000 Oklahomans will travel over Labor Day this year, a two percent jump from the 400,300 who traveled last year and the most since Labor Day, 2008. Nationwide, AAA predicts 34.7 million will travel over the long holiday weekend, up 1.3 percent.

"This year, Americans say they're more optimistic about their financial situation," said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. "Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that a lot of us are feeling comfortable using our credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year."

Nearly 85 percent of all Oklahoma travelers (345,000) will celebrate the holiday with a road trip before summer comes to a close. AAA defines the Labor Day holiday travel period as Thursday, August 28 to Monday, September 1. Travel is identified as going 50 miles or more from home.

Highlights from AAA's 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast

* 32,300 Oklahomans will be getting to their Labor Day destinations by air, a 1 percent increase from the 32,000 who flew last year.

* Another 30,700 Oklahomans will travel by other means, including bus, train, multi-modal or boat.

* Nationwide, auto travel is expected to grow by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road in cars, pickups and RVs.

* U.S. air travel will show a 1 percent increase to 2.65 million this year.

* Travelers will encounter airfares that are two percent higher than last year. The average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes is running $219, compared with $214 last year.

* Average daily car rental rates are consistent with charges in 2013 - $51.

* Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are averaging $125 per night this year, nine percent higher than last year, and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more, up to $171 per night.

* Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.

Gas prices lower than last year

Most U.S. motorists are paying the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices will certainly make travel more affordable. Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared with recent years.

The current price of regular gas in Oklahoma is $3.29, which is 14 cents lower than the $3.43 recorded across the state on this date last year. The nationwide average today stands at $3.44, compared with $3.53 last year.