Last year marked the highest number of people traveling on Labor Day during the decade with 45.1 million traveling. Even though the numbers are expected to be lower than last year — they are expected to be higher than the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which is usually the busiest automobile travel holiday of the year, according to the AAA news release.
“AAA predicts this Labor Day holiday weekend will be the third busiest of the decade, even though the number of travelers will be down from last year,” said Martha Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The second busiest year was in 2003 when 41.6 million Americans took a Labor Day weekend trip.
Last year’s Labor Day travel was also affected by gas prices that had dropped to $3.68 per gallon from a record high of $4.11 on July 17 and end-of-summer discounts that had emerged, according to AAA.
The nationwide average price of self-serve regular gasoline is expected to be about one dollar less than last year, or about $2.60 a gallon. That drop, plus deals and discounts offered by travel providers, might entice travelers out onto the road during Labor Day, AAA said.
The lowest average published airfares are expected to decrease 17 percent from last year, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. Car rental rates are up 7 percent with customers paying an average of $43 per day compared to $40 a year ago.
Rates for AAA Three Diamond and Two Diamond lodgings are projected to be 12 percent less than last year for an average of $137 per night for Three Diamond properties. AAA Two Diamond lodgings will cost an average of $101 per night.