NEW YORK (AP) — This Christmas travel season could be the busiest in six years, with AAA predicting that 93.3 million Americans will hit the road. That's 1.6 percent more than last year and just 400,000 people shy of the 2006 record.
More cars will crowd the highways than ever before, largely because finding a seat on a plane at a desirable price has gotten more difficult. AAA says a record 84.4 million people will drive at least 50 miles between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1. That's 90.5 percent of holiday travelers, up from 89.3 percent six years ago.
Put another way: one in four Americans will be driving long distances for Christmas and New Year's. So expect plenty of traffic jams, crowded highway rest stops and overflowing toll plazas.
The price of gas could be close to the average of $3.23 a gallon that drivers paid last Christmas. The price has dropped about 50 cents since September. AAA estimates the average price will range between $3.20 and $3.40 a gallon by New Year's Day, according to AAA. That's pricey, but hardly a deterrent to holiday travel.
"The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation," say AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet.
The travel forecast done by IHS Global Insight for AAA, one of the nation's largest leisure travel agencies, is based on interviews with 655 Americans and factors in estimates about the overall health of the economy.
While about 1 million more people will driver, fewer will travel by plane.
Airlines for America, the industry's trade group, estimates that about 15 million people will fly between Dec. 17 and Jan. 6. The group says there will be 42 million segments — a takeoff and landing — flown by passengers. That's about 300,000, or 1 percent, fewer segments than last year.
Planes will also be fuller than last Christmas. The group's chief economist John Heimlich expects 86 percent of seats to be filled with paying passengers, up from 85 percent last year. That number could climb to 90 percent on the busiest days: the weekend before Christmas, the day after Christmas and Jan. 2.
Once fliers arrive, they'll pay more for hotels and car rentals. AAA three diamond lodgings are forecast to cost $129 a night, up $3 from last year. Two diamond properties are also up $3 a night to $95. Daily car rental rates will average $56, compared to $40 last year.
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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Authorities have canceled an alert for a missing a 16-year-old Stamford girl they say ran away with her 1-year-old son.
When you hear the soothing tones of Bing Crosby you just know a Christmas tree is close by.
New Haven police are investigating the death of a man who was found with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Stamford police are looking for a 16-year-old girl and her one year old son.
A gun buyback program sponsored by Hartford police and area hospitals collected 181 guns, including seven assault weapons.
Police in Waterbury are looking for clues to solve a late-night homicide where a man was shot in the neck.
A two-alarm fire destroyed a church in Pomfret Saturday afternoon.
Connecticut U.S. senators are stepping up pressure on Metro-North Railroad to revamp safety systems after federal transportation regulators ordered the commuter train operator to take emergency measures in the wake of a derailment that …
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Registered dietitian Pat Baird joined us on Good Morning Connecticut Saturday to share some tips on healthy eating while out holiday shopping.