AAA predicts record travel for the end of the year

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LEE COUNTY, Fla.- WINK News is tracking flights and gas prices as people gear up to travel for the holidays.

AAA says the year-end holiday season should see the highest travel volume on record (AAA travel data dates back to 2001). AAA projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.

More than 89.5 million travelers, or about 91 percent, will celebrate the holidays with a road trip, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2013. Air travel is forecast to grow one percent from 2013, with 5.7 million passengers. Christmas day gas prices should be the lowest since 2008  when they were $1.65. Hotel and car rental rates increased 4-5 percent and airfares fell seven percent this year due to low-cost carriers.

About 5 million Floridians are expected to travel for the holidays, with more than 4 million of them driving. About 300,000 will fly.

AAA says people about about 3 percent more disposable income this holiday season because of the low gas prices. “Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2008,” says Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesperson. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”

The average price for a gallon of gas in Southwest Florida is $2.52, higher than the national average of $2.37.

If you need to track your flights at Southwest Florida International Airport, visit


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