More people expected to travel this holiday season
COLUMBIA -Traveling during the holiday season can be tough, and traveling with a family of seven during this time can be even tougher. Just ask Karen Washer. Washer and her family, who will be traveling to the Boston area, will be joined by more than 94 million others who are traveling more than 50 miles from their home between December 21 and January 21.
"The cost of taking seven people is tough, especially for things that are not the fun part of the trip. Paying for two hotel rooms and a vehicle that's big enough, and meals that maybe aren't really want you want, but you're just trying to take care of everyone," Washer said.
Officials from AAA say many people have been encouraged to travel during the holidays because of gas prices, which dropped below $3.00 a gallon for the first time since 2010.
"Right now the biggest decrease in travel expenditure is gas because the gas prices last year were like 60 cents higher per gallon than we are seeing this year, which is a plus," AAA travel agent Nora Rioux said.
For those not driving to their holiday destination, travel agents recommend planning the trip with as much advance notice as possible.
"The best benefit for holiday travel always is more advance notice. It just helps tremendously. Holiday travel usually has a tendency as a whole to be a little bit more expensive, so booking early can absolutely help," Rioux said.
Agents also recommend researching costs using a variety of travel resources to find the best price on travel accommodations as well as hotel.
Research shows those who choose to travel on days like Christmas and New Year can also save money during their trip.
"We picked Christmas Eve and New Years Eve to travel because they were the cheapest flights, and we had decided to fly instead of driving," Washer said.
Even though Washer and her family decided not to drive to the Boston area for their trip, she says lower gas prices were a major factor in deciding to travel this year as opposed to others.
"Last time we drove to Massachusetts, gas was five dollars a gallon. It was that crazy summer. To think, well now, today when I drove out it was $2.19 per gallon. It is a nice little perk," Washer said.
Travel agents from AAA say one method of traveling isn't necessarily cheaper, especially during the holidays.
They recommend travelers choose their means of transportation based on their destination as well as what they're most comfortable with.
According to AAA, higher employment rates, disposable income, and consumer confidence are just some of the factors that have increased American's desire to travel for the upcoming year-end holiday travel season.