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American Travelers Up 1.4 Percent from 2010

Holiday travel is expected to be up 1.4 percent this season, with a forecast of 91.9 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more between December 23 and January 2.

Bevi Powell, director of communications for AAA East Central, said they anticipate the number of travelers to be the second highest in the past decade. Powell said they project air travel to be down nearly 10 percent from last year, dropping the average travel distance from 1,052 miles last year to 726 miles this year.

"Airfares are expected to be about 21 percent higher this year," Powell said. "Jet fuel costs are up and also with capacity cuts, those prices are up significantly so we have seen a drop in air travel. In fact about 9.7 percent less this year plan on flying than last year."

Many of those travelers have chosen other means, and not necessarily driving.

"The other modes of travel are up—other modes meaning trains, bus, boats—about 4.2 percent with 2.9 million taking an alternative mode of travel," Powell said.

According to the survey, 59 percent of travelers said the economy had no impact on their travel plans or they feel like things have improved for them. The other 41 percent say they plan to scale back their travel plans because of economic concerns.

83.6 million people are expected to be on the road. That's up 2.1 percent despite the current national average price for unleaded gasoline at $3.26 per gallon, up 29 cents from a year ago. The average price in the Pittsburgh region has risen 26 cents to $3.35.