AAA released a forecast on Thursday which shows 115.6 million Americans, 4.3 million more than last year, will travel more than 50 miles between Dec. 21 and Jan. 1, the highest number since it began tracking holiday traffic back in 2000.
According to AAA, 6.1 million residents of the Sunshine State, 300,000 more than last year, will travel for the holidays, again a record high.
Most of the travelers–104.8 million Americans including 5.5 million Floridians–will travel by automobiles. Almost 7 million Americans, including 332,500 Floridians, will travel by air.
“With 4.9 percent growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the year-end holidays – the most since 2003,” AAA noted. Almost 4 million Americans, including more than 230,500 Floridians, will travel by train, bus and cruise ships.
“Holiday cheer is at an all-time high this year, with unemployment at historically low levels, and noted improvements in both disposable income and household net worth,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”
AAA stressed there would be an increase in road traffic on Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 while noting most air travelers will depart on Dec. 21 through Dec. 23 with Dec. 22 being the busiest day for it.
With the average gallon of gas in Florida costing around $2.50, AAA expected it to lower despite increasing last week.
“The state average may not return to last year’s levels in time for the holidays, but lower gas prices are coming,” said Jenkins. “Gasoline supplies have risen sharply during the past week, while demand has slumped. This should help send the state average below $2.40 per gallon before Christmas.”
Florida can expect a rush of tourists as Orlando is the most popular destination for year-end holiday travel. Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Tampa also make the top ten most popular destinations for travelers.