The end-of-the-year holiday travel forecast is another record breaker with AAA projecting a 3.1 percent increase in travel compared to last December.
“Across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and we project the same for the year-end holiday period,” said Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long.”
In cars, trains and airplanes, more than 107 million Americans are expected to set a new year-end holiday travel record for the ninth year in a row, according to AAA.
“I think it’s wonderful that people are still getting out and able to visit their family and friends and enjoying the holidays the way they should be,” Mary McHugh, of East Hartford, said.
McHugh took a train from New Haven to Richmond, Virginia Thursday afternoon to visit her daughter’s family.
“This is the first time I’m going down for Christmas in a while,” she said, “so I’m looking forward to it.”
Holiday travelers hitting the roads will find the national average for a gallon of gas is up 28 cents from last year, but AAA expects that number to drop at least five cents by the end of the year.
“I prefer to drive,” April Vines, of Windsor, said. “However, we’re going to take the train into the city today just so we don’t have to actually hit any of that rush.”
At Bradley International Airport, Christmas carolers greeted passengers, including Such Much, who flew in from Iowa with a stop in North Carolina.
“I loved it and I got my picture taken with Santa Claus,” Much said, “so I can’t wait to show it to my grandchildren later.”
More than 6.4 million Americans are expected to fly to their holiday destination and airfares are 20 percent cheaper than a year ago, according to AAA.
“People are out and traveling,” Much said. “We had a full, full flight of people.”
Even though she had a 15-minute delay at New Haven’s Union Station, McHugh said she finds the train to be the more reliable mode of transportation in December.
“When the weather is iffy the trains, they’ll still go whereas the planes they might be canceled,” she said.
For people planning road trips next week, AAA said to expect the worst delays on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.