DETROIT (WWJ) – Plan on taking a trip over the long Labor Day weekend? You definitely won’t be alone.
AAA Michigan says over 1.2 million Michigan residents will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, defined as Thursday, August 29 to Monday, Sept. 2.
Most state travelers – an estimated 91 percent – will go by vehicle to enjoy “summer’s last hurrah,” with campgrounds, resort areas, and lakes among the favorite destinations. They join the 85 percent of travelers nationally who will go by vehicle.
AAA’s Nancy Cain said an improving economy is allowing more people to travel.
“More than 1.2 million of us will be traveling in Michigan, and that’s up about one percent from last year,” she said. “And last year we saw about a 1 percent increase, so we’re seeing the trend going up as the economy improves and people are feeling a little more comfortable.”
Cain said travel budgets are also being helped by gas prices.
“Gas prices are actually about 36 cents less than they were the same time last year. They may go up a little bit before the holiday, but we don’t anticipate by much. In fact, a lot of folks in the survey told us that even if prices went up, they would still travel; they maybe wouldn’t go as far or stay as long, but they still planned to travel,” she said.
The largest share of holiday travelers will depart on Friday, with Monday the most popular date of return.
Median spending is expected to grow to $804, compared to $749 last year. Travelers expect to spend 24 percent of their budget on transportation and lodging and 21 percent on food and beverages.
Air leisure travelers will account for nearly five percent of all travel in Michigan during the holiday weekend, up slightly from last year. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be taken by the remaining four percent of Michigan travelers.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight.