Officials of the AAA tell us that this year, Christmas and Thanksgiving will combined for a holiday travel record. In fact, more than 6.1 million Floridians will be on the road for last holidays of the year. That’s 300,000 more than last year.
Here in the Sunshine State, most of them will be going by car. We’re told 5.5 million will travel by auto. Additionally, there will be 332,500 by air. That’s up by 15,000 over last year. And the trains, busses and cruise ship category will log in 230,600 passengers. That’ll be up an estimated 9,300 over last year’s holiday season.
“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, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
Busiest Travel Days On the road
The 6.1 million Floridians and visitors traveling by automobile should find only marginal delays throughout the holiday week. Nationally, drivers could experience double the travel times on Thursday and Friday afternoon.
At the airport
The AAA’s flight booking data revealed that most travelers depart two to four days prior to the Christmas holiday, Dec. 21-23, with the 22nd being the single busiest air travel day of the holiday week. Christmas Eve is the best day to travel, with the lowest average price per ticket ($527) and the fewest crowds of the holiday week.
Gas Prices Should Drop Before the Holidays
Gas prices have been somewhat erratic this month. Since jumping 11 cents last week, the state average has steadily declined. It has averaged about a penny per day. At last report Florida gas prices averaged around $2.50 per gallon. The year-over-year increase was largely due to higher crude oil prices – which are $7 per barrel more than this time last year.
During last year’s holiday period, Florida gas prices averaged $2.20 per gallon. In that time, the state average declined from $2.25 on December 21, to $2.16 on January 1.
“The state average may not return to last year’s levels in time for the holidays, but lower gas prices are coming,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
Prepare Your Car
Those who follow us know we advocate pre-trip checks and carry a traveling tool box in case of minor repairs. However, more than 853,000 motorists will call AAA for assistance at the roadside this holiday season. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.
The AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. And remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside. It’s the law in all 50 states. Click here for AAA tips on preparing your vehicle for the road
Minimize Stress; Prevent Road Rage
The holidays can be a stressful time; AAA encourages drivers to maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching their destination safely. AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:
- Do Not Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it is not personal.
- Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.
Hotel Prices Fluctuate Slightly; Car Rental Rates Reach 10-year high
Travelers will need to budget more for car rentals this holiday season. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the daily average rental rate this Christmas and New Year’s will reach $84, 11% more than last year and the highest price in 10 years. AAA Three Diamond hotel prices have increased 1% to $153, while AAA Two Diamond hotels will average $119, 2% less than last year.
Here at Florida Fun Travel, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Safe Motoring!