SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Nearly 1.2 million Michiganians will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, about one percent less than those who traveled one year ago.
They join the 31.5 million Americans who will travel, a 2.4 percent decrease from last year. This year’s Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Sept. 1 to Monday, Sept. 5.
Most state travelers – an estimated 98 percent – will go by vehicle to enjoy summer’s last hurrah, with campgrounds, resort areas and lakes among the popular destinations. Travelers will find higher gas prices this holiday — in Michigan, gas averages $3.71 per gallon, $1.02 more than last year.
Based on a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans this holiday weekend is expected to be 608 miles, slightly less than one year ago (635 miles), while median spending is expected to be $702, largely unchanged from last year’s $697.
Fuel and transportation costs combine for the largest share of holiday spending (27 percent), followed by accommodations (22 percent) and food and beverage costs (21 percent). Shopping, entertainment and recreation make up the remaining costs.
Air leisure travelers will account for some 1 percent of all travel in Michigan during the holiday weekend. Nationally, that number increases to eight percent. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be taken by the remaining one percent of Michigan travelers, and five percent of travelers nationwide.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, weekend daily car rental rates are down seven percent with consumers paying an average of $43. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $148 per night compared to $139 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels will pay eight percent more at an average cost of $110 per night.
Michigan State Police report during last year’s Labor Day holiday period, 21 people died in 17 fatal crashes on roads across the state. Eleven of last year’s deaths were alcohol-related.