AAA projects increase in Md. holiday travel
AAA Mid-Atlantic is projecting that more than 1.8 million Marylanders will travel more than 50 miles from home over the Christmas-New Year''s holiday, a 3.6 percent gain in the face of gas prices hovering around $3 a gallon.
The projection is running slightly ahead of the 3.1 percent gain expected nationwide, likely reflecting a stronger economy in Maryland than in many other states. AAA defines tthe holiday period as Dec. 3 through Jan. 2.
Of that 1.8 million, 94 percent are expected to make their trips by road -- a 3.7 percent gain over the same holidays in 2009. About 49,000 Marylanders are expected to fly somewhere for the holidays, a 3.3 percent increase over last year.
The increase would be less dramatic than Marylland saw over Thanksgiving, when the increase was projected in double digits. But AAA spokeswoman Christine Delise said the smaller increase reflects a rebound in traveling between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2009, rather than weakness this year.
The large number of motorists taking to tthe road is expected to be accompanied by a correspondingly strong number standing alongside it. AAA Mid-Atlantic is projecting that it will receive aboutt 110,000 service callls in its five-state region including Maryland.
According to the AAA,, the increase in holiday travel plans reflects an increasingly positive view of the state of the economy despite a weak November jobs report. AAA said that nationwide, two-thirds of travellers surveyed said their holiday plans had not been affected by the economy.