AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts that more than 900,000 Virginians will hit the highway this holiday weekend, breaking a trend of consumers staying closer to home the last few years.
This holiday weekend, approximately 950,000 Virginians are projected to travel between Thursday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept. 2, an increase of over 9 percent since the end of the recession in 2009, AAA says.
AAA’s 2013 Labor Day holiday forecast for Virginia is up 2.1 percent since last year. Of those traveling this holiday weekend, 87% (824,617) will choose to drive 50 miles or more away from home.
“This is the fourth consecutive year we have seen an increase in those traveling for their last summer hurrah this holiday weekend,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement.
“The lift in travel may be attributed to the increasingly positive economic outlook and optimism in the housing market leaving more families feeling confident about traveling this weekend.”
Virginians are also expected to spend more money this weekend. After a year in which travelers in the region seemed to hold back on spending, they’re planning to make up for it this year by shelling out 14 percent more ($946) than the previous year ($827), said AAA.
Gas prices are helping the favorable travel conditions. Gas
prices in the Commonwealth are down 6.9 percent ($3.36) per gallon
compared to the same time year ($3.61). The average price for gas on
Labor Day 2012 was $3.68 per gallon, the most expensive average ever on
record for the holiday.