More Americans will take to the streets and skies this Labor Day weekend than last year, in a continuation of recent travel trends.
According to the AAA Labor Day Holiday Travel Forecast, 35.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Labor Day weekend, a 1 percent increase from 2014 and the fourth consecutive year of growth in Labor Day travel.
The report cites the current labor market as a factor in the increased number of travelers this year. Its strength "has helped increase personal income, which, combined with flat prices, has resulted in a boost to disposable income, which is expected to increase 3.5 percent compared to last year."
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Drivers can also expect to pay less at the pump this holiday weekend than they have in more than a decade. The average gas price earlier this week was $2.47 nationally, the lowest since 2004. Approximately 30.4 million Americans, or 85.8 percent of all travelers, are expected to jump behind the wheel this weekend. An additional 2.64 million people will travel by air, and 2.4 million will travel by train, bus, watercraft or another mode of transportation.
Americans are expected to pour $13.5 billion into the economy this weekend, up 2 percent over 2014, according to a survey by TNS for U.S. Travel.
The travel industry group also made the case, however, that failing surface and air travel infrastructure will keep 4.1 million potential travelers at home, costing the economy $1.4 billion in spending. U.S. Travel's analysis concluded that the inability of Congress to pass long-term bills on the nation's highways and air travel system will contribute to and worsen Americans' travel woes.
Though consumers appear to be willing to shell out some extra travel money this year, the slight increase in travel is likely because cautious consumers are foregoing travel in order to save or pay off debt, according to AAA.
—Damian Geminder contributed to this report.