1.4 Million Michiganians Have Labor Day Travel Plans, Says AAA


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DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 26, 2009 -- An estimated 1.4 million Michiganians will travel during the 2009 Labor Day holiday, according to a recent AAA survey. This year, Labor Day falls on Sept. 7, a full week after last year, at a time when many families are preparing for school opening. Nationally, Labor Day travel is anticipated to be down 13 percent from last year.

"However, lower gas prices, combined with end of summer discounts and deals offered by travel providers, are encouraging travelers to enjoy summer's last hurrah," said Claire Lockley, vice president Travel for The Auto Club Group. Most Labor Day travelers will go by auto (84 percent), while air travel will account for only four percent. Twelve percent will go by train, bus, RV, motorcycle or personal watercraft.

Holiday auto travelers will find gas prices in Michigan averaging $2.59 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline, $1.23 lower than last year.

Travel bargains remain plentiful. For example, AAA members receive 15 percent or more off the best rates at Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton hotels for weekend stays, with no minimum stay requirements.

Disney is offering travelers who book a AAA Vacations experience several different incentives. At Walt Disney World in Florida, travelers who book a five-night package through AAA Vacations can get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan For Free.

According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, the lowest average published airfares over the Labor Day holiday weekend are expected to decrease 17 percent from last year as air passengers will pay, for example, as little as $88 for a round-trip ticket from Detroit to Orlando. Car rental rates are up seven percent with consumers paying an average $43 per day, compared to $40 a year ago. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond and Two Diamond lodgings are expected to be 12 percent less than last year with travelers spending an average of $137 per night for Three Diamond properties. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels will pay an average of $101 per night.

For Michigan residents planning a summer vacation, the 10 most popular destinations (based on AAA TripTik request are:

  1)     Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island
  2)     Traverse City
  3)     Frankenmuth/Birch Run
  4)     Boyne Mountain
  5)     Dearborn (The Henry Ford and Museum)
  6)     Munising
  7)     Sault St. Marie
  8)     Dundee
  9)     Saugatuck/Douglas
  10)    Lansing

For Michigan AAA members, the 10 most popular driving destinations throughout the United States are:

  1)    Chicago                           IL
  2)    Niagara Falls                     ON
  3)    Myrtle Beach                      SC
  4)    Washington                        DC
  5)    Gatlinburg                        TN
  6)    Cleveland                         OH
  7)    Mackinaw City                     MI
  8)    Yellowstone National Park         WY
  9)    Nashville                         TN
  10)   Orlando                           FL

This year, the official 78-hour Labor Day holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday (Sept. 4), and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday (Sept. 7).

During last year's holiday period, 12 people died in 12 fatal crashes on roads across the state. Four of last year's deaths were alcohol-related. Of the persons killed, three were not belted and four did not have seat belts available, as they were cycle related. Two of those were not wearing helmets, one was and one was unknown.

To help make this year's Labor Day holiday period a safe one, AAA Michigan will once again partner with the Michigan State Police (MSP) in supporting Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). Bright banners will be posted at rest areas statewide, with most sites offering complimentary coffee and refreshments. In addition to free coffee, Operation C.A.R.E. volunteers will provide information about some of the major causes of deadly crashes and how to avoid them.

AAA's projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2009 holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

AAA Michigan offers travel, insurance and financial services to more than 1.6 million members in Michigan. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with approximately 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization with more than 51 million members in the United States and Canada.

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