AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts that more than 800,000 Washington metro area residents will hit the highway this holiday weekend, breaking a trend of consumers staying closer to home the last few years.
This holiday weekend, approximately 811,000 people in the Washington metro area are projected to travel between Thursday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept. 2.
AAA’s 2013 Labor Day holiday forecast for Washington metro area residents is up 2.6 percent since last year. Of those traveling a distance this holiday weekend, 87% (707,000) will choose to drive 50 miles or more away from home.
“Call it summer’s last fling. After staying put throughout the summer, Washingtonians are yearning for travel, so they are getting the heck out of town for Labor Day. In fact, this is the fourth year of increases in local Labor Day travelers in the Washington metro area,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs in a statement.
“The effect of sequestration is still felt locally. However, local residents can now gauge itsfull impact on their discretionary budgets with the recent announcement that the number of civilian furlough days has been reduced from 11 to six. That’s enough unanticipated good news to put folks around here in the mood to travel.”
Washington metro area residents are also expected to spend more money this weekend. After a year in which travelers in the region seemed to hold back on spending, they’re planning to make up for it this year by shelling out 14 percent more ($946) than the previous year ($827), said AAA.
Gas prices are helping the favorable travel conditions. Gas prices in the Washington metro area are down ($3.56) on average 16 cents lower per gallon than last year. The national average price for gas on Labor Day 2012 was $3.75 per gallon.