Record-Setting 115.6 Million Americans Traveling This Holiday Season

Record-Setting 115.6 Million Americans Traveling This Holiday Season

Vacation News » Orlando Edition | By Michael Gerrity | December 24, 2019 8:30 AM ET

Both Orange Counties - Florida and California - are top 2 holiday travel destinations in U.S.

According to AAA forecasts, more Americans than ever on record - 115.6 million - will travel this holiday season in the U.S., from Saturday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

That is the most in nearly 20 years since AAA began tracking in 2000, and represents an increase of 3.9% over last year, or 4.3 million more people packing up their sleighs for a holiday getaway. More than 104 million of those holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects delays to be the worst on Thursday, Dec. 26, with afternoon delays reaching nearly double congestion-free drive times in major U.S. cities.

U.S. Holiday Travel Data:

  • Automobiles: 104.8 million Americans, the most on record, will drive to their holiday destinations. That means 3.9 million more people are expected on the roads compared with last year, for an increase of 3.9%.
  • Planes: With 4.9% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the year-end holidays, with 6.97 million Americans expected to fly - the most since 2003.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel by these other modes will reach 3.81 million, 3% more than last year.
"Holiday cheer is at an all-time high this year, with unemployment at historically low levels, and noted improvements in both disposable income and household net worth," said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. "Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays."

Theme parks, warm-weather destinations & NYC top holiday getaways

Theme parks in Orlando and southern California, other warm-weather locales, and the iconic holiday destination New York City top the list of 10 most popular destinations in the U.S. for the year-end holidays, based on advance AAA Travel bookings. America's top holiday travel destinations are (by ranking):

1. Orlando, FL
2. Anaheim, CA
3. Honolulu, HI
4. Kahului, Maui, HI
5. Las Vegas, NV
6. Lauderdale, FL
7. New York, NY
8. Miami, FL
9. Tampa, FL
10. Phoenix, AZ

Many travelers are also seeking warm weather and sandy beaches in Mexico and the Caribbean this holiday season. Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Los Cabos, Mexico; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, are AAA's top five international destinations for the year-end holidays.

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