14 December 2006


Jim Rink (313) 336-1513

An estimated 2 million Michigan residents will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Christmas/New Year’s holiday, confirms AAA’s latest travel survey – the highest number of travelers for this holiday period since AAA began its Michigan survey in 1999.

More travelers will take a car, truck or van to their final destinations this year (90 percent vs. 76 percent last year), while fewer will go by air (10 percent vs. 25 percent last year).

“There is a great deal of pent-up demand,” said Claire Lockley, vice president - Travel for The Auto Club Group (ACG). “A mild winter and moderate gas prices are prompting more travel opportunities.”

According to AAA’s annual holiday travel survey, 64.9 million people nationwide will travel this Christmas/New Years – the most ever.

Based on projected requests for TripTik(R) routings, the most popular driving destinations outside Michigan this winter are:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Atlanta, Georgia
  3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  4. Indianapolis, Indiana
  5. Nashville, Tennessee

Other survey findings:

  • 43.5 percent of travelers in the Great Lakes region are traveling to a small town or rural area as their final destination.
  • Friend or relative’s homes (64.2 percent) and hotels or motels (17.9 percent) are the accommodations of choice during the 2006 Christmas holiday.

Michigan motorists can expect to pay about 5 cents less for a gallon of gas this year ($2.233 as of December 13), compared with last year at this time.

The official 78-hour Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, December 22 and runs to 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 25. The 2006-2007 New Year holiday (also 78 hours) begins at 6 p.m. Friday, December 29 and runs to 11:59 p.m. Monday, January 1, 2007.

During last year’s 78-hour Christmas holiday period, there were six traffic fatalities reported by the Michigan State Police. During last year’s 78-hour New Year holiday period, 10 people were killed on Michigan roads.

AAA Michigan urges motorists to allow extra time, buckle safety belts, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol during the upcoming holiday travel period. For tasty nonalcoholic drink recipes, visit AAA.com/Pretenders.