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AAA projects folks 'not laboring' this Labor Day holiday weekend

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(WSLS 10) - AAA Travel projects 35.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2008 and a one percent increase over 2014.

Locally, 972,219 Virginians plan to celebrate the holiday with a final trip before summer comes to a close, with 87 percent going by car.

The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 3 to Monday, September 7. Historically, when the Labor Day weekend falls later in the calendar, Americans have shown less inclination to travel.

As Labor Day falls on Monday, September 7, the latest possible day it can occur, the overall travel growth potential is dampened somewhat this year.

"While strong travel numbers are great news for the industry and economy, our survey shows a decidedly ‘un-laboring' take on the Labor Day holiday," says Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager Public of Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Many would rather spend the holiday at cookouts, relaxing or simply at home to avoid heavy holiday traffic congestion, especially if they have already taken a vacation this summer."

  • Not laboring this Labor Day. Going to cookouts with family and friend, relaxing or simply "catching up on things at home" will be the most popular activities, as 68 percent of respondents begin to make the transition from the lazy days of summer to the busy fall and winter months.
  • Of those traveling, 63 percent will be staying one or more nights at their destination, while 35 percent will be taking day trips.
  • Catching the waves. Fifteen percent are heading to the beach to catch their final summer waves.
  • Of those not traveling, 24 percent said they already took a summer vacation and 23 percent said they don't want to deal with traffic congestion.
  • 56 percent of survey respondents indicated that they did take a summer vacation this year, while 44 percent said they did not.
  • Road Trips Rule:  71 percent of mid-Atlantic vacationers said they drove to their summer destinations. The average price per gallon for self-serve regular in Virginia today is $2.21, which is 98 cents less than the same date in 2014.
  • While nearly a third of travelers said they still used printed maps, over 55 percent said GPS was the way to go.
  • To the roadside rescue. AAA Mid-Atlantic is preparing for 24,000 or more calls for help this Labor Day holiday. Last year, 4,834 motorists in Virginia motorists needed a rescue.
  • Airfares dip, hotel rates climb. According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to be the highest in five years, increasing two percent from one year ago, with travelers spending an average of $175 compared to $171. Airfares are down one percent, with the average round-trip discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $216, down from $219 last year.
  • As the summer travel season comes to a close, an analysis of the top travel searches on AAA's website for the mid-Atlantic region from Memorial Day through the third week of August, paints a picture of what was on the minds of local travelers.