U.S. Holiday Travel Overview
Consumers are expected to open their wallets this Thanksgiving, with steady income gains fueling strong consumer spending growth. This will drive holiday travel up 1.9 percent, the eighth consecutive year of growth.
Steady Growth in Auto Travel
Car travel is expected to outpace overall travel growth, with 1.9 percent growth. The 43.5 million travelers on the road will be the most since 2005 and more than 800,000 more than last year.
Air Travel Highest Since 2007
- Thanksgiving holiday air travel growth will come in just under the overall national total, at an increase of 1.6 percent. The 3.7 million travelers in the skies will be the fifth consecutive year of air travel growth.
- The 2016 forecast of 48.7 million travelers will mark the highest Thanksgiving holiday travel volume since 2007. This represents one million more travelers than last year.
- The 1.9 percent increase will be the eighth consecutive year that travel volume has grown for this holiday, as the total travel volume has grown nearly 29 percent (10.8 million travelers) during this eight-year span.
- Auto travel will grow for the eighth straight year; the 2016 volume is 12.5 percent above the ‘01-‘15 average.
- Air travel will rise for the fifth straight year, and is 12 percent above the 2010 post-recession rebound year.
- Travel by other modes will rise just under one percent as broad economic gains will spur bus and train travel
Economic gains include the following:
- Gas prices averaged $2.24 for the month of October which is two cents below October 2015, and as of November 9, pricing is $0.01 per gallon below last year.
- Consumers are expected to increase spending by 4.2 percent, well ahead of the 3.4 percent rise in personal income and the 2.3 percent increase in disposable income.
- Real GDP is forecast to be just 1.6 percent above last year, while the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 4.9 percent, which is 0.1 point lower than this time last year.
- Improvements in the housing market have moderated, but household net worth is rising more than five percent as the corporate and stock market improvements are outpacing debt growth.
- While there are some mixed results from the consumer surveys, the current outlook remains strong across the board and will therefore contribute to the willingness of consumers to spend through the holiday period.
AAA, a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation, is a federation of affiliated motor clubs with more than 1,100 offices in the U.S. and Canada. It offers personal service through its network of more than 40,000 full-time employees.