AAA projects that over 3 million Michiganders will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, up nearly 5 percent from last year.

According to AAA, the upward trend marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2003 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period since 2006. The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23rd to Sunday, January 4th. This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year's and the longest since 2008, offering travelers more options for departures and return trips.

Of the increased numbers, Susan Hiltz, AAA Michigan Public Affairs Directors, says "continued growth in consumer confidence and disposable income, an extended holiday period and low gas prices should drive travel volumes to the highest levels we have ever seen during the year-end holidays." She added that the "lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year" and they are "increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year."

According to AAA:

  • More than 90 percent of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations.
  • Today's average price of gasoline in Michigan is the lowest in five years.
  • Hotel rates are expected to increase four percent from last year.
  • Airfares are expected to fall seven percent this year.

For more information and travel planning resources, visit www.AAA.com