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Development & Transportation

Travel up for All Major Holidays in 2012 – Capped by Increased Traffic over Christmas


The nation’s roadways and airports are about to get a lot busier, as families and friends head out to spend Christmas with those they love.

“We’ll have 93.3 million who will be traveling an average of 760 miles or more away from home, 90 percent of those will be on our nation’s roadways,” said Ruth Nagy, managing director of travel operations for AAA.

This increased travels means that more people hit the roads for all major holidays in 2012 than in 2011. In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, year-end holiday travelers will total 10.5 million, an increase of 1.3 percent over last year. 9.3 million will travel by automobile.

“Try to avoid peak travel times, that Friday after work just before the holiday, Saturday will probably be very busy as well because the holiday doesn’t fall until Tuesday, and Sunday will also be a very busy day for travel before the holidays,” said Nagy.

She suggests avoiding early morning travel, especially if you’re not driving a great distance, and to make sure to avoid going directly through major metropolitan areas during their rush hour.

Holiday air travel will also be up this year, increasing 4.5 percent to 5.6 million travelers. That’s compared to 5.4 million in 2011. About 3.3 million travelers will take another mode of transportation such as a train or bus.

Airfare, hotel rates, and car rental rates are all higher than last year, but aren’t expected to impact travel plans. Gas prices are expected to drop as the New Year approaches. Currently, the national average for a gallon of unleaded is $3.24, which is a record high for this time of year.