More Americans on travelling spree are hitting the road for holidays

The summer travel season is heating up with more and more Americans travelling by road in their cars with stable gas prices. The U.S airline industry is expecting a decline in the holiday travelers by air as more Americans prefer to travel by road.

A U.S. airline industry’s trade group is forecasting about 43.3 million travelers during these twenty one days surrounding the Christmas and New Years Eve. This amounts to one percent drop from the same period last year. Independent studies do suggest that the gap maybe even greater among leisure travelers.

For instance during the Memorial Day holiday about 30.7 million Americans drove to their destinations while only 2.5 million flew according to a DK Shifflet and Associates survey that conducts road studies for American Automobile Association or AAA. During Christmas and New Years holiday about 83.5 million drove by road and just 5.4 million went to their destinations by plane.

The road trip is expected to cost more than a year ago with gas prices that rose during the winter and early spring in 2012 to about $4 a gallon. Travel industry observers expected that the normal summer price rise hike would scare the consumers away from long drive trips but the gas price hike did not happen and therefore Americans are not worried about the consequences of price hike in July and August. It is estimated that only 17 percent are holding off their travel plans and are waiting to see whether the gas prices would come down or not, while the rest have made their plans of hitting the roads.

Americans are planning to drive an average of 212 miles farther in 2012 then they did in 2011 as per the survey conducted by Hankook Summer Gauge Index and in percentage terms it is 30 percent up on Year over Year or YOY from 2011. The survey involved 1012 randomly selected Americans and the mean distance they are planning to travel jumped from 725 miles in 2011 to 937 miles this year.

The other reason to travel by road is that many travelers are not in a mood to face the risk of flight delays and cancellations that run at a higher rate during the holiday season. Moreover, hitting the road gives them the freedom of driving, picking their departure times and packing what they like even though it meant dealing with higher fuel price and traffic congestion.

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