After missing out on summer vacations because of high fuel prices and a weakening economy, many Americans won’t be going anywhere over the Labor Day weekend either.
Reuters reported that the number of people traveling 50 miles or more will drop by 0.9% this Labor Day weekend compared with last year, the biggest drop in at least eight years, according to travel and auto group AAA. The expected decline comes after similar slowdowns in travel during the normally packed Memorial and Fourth of July holiday weekends this year. Americans have also experienced a downturn in overall summer travel because of rising gasoline prices and a weak dollar, which makes foreign travel more expensive for Americans.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is commonly seen as the last chance to get away while the weather is still warm. But for many this year, that won’t be happening.
“I just can’t afford it,” said 26-year-old Ashley Tyrrell, who plans to skip her annual end-of-summer trek from her home in Overland Park, Kan., to a family cabin in Wisconsin. “I work full time. But food, gas, everything has just gone through the roof. It’s horrible. Congress is on vacation and they’re probably soaking up the rays somewhere. We’re soaking up high gas prices.”
AAA said its annual online survey showed 34.38 million people plan to travel 50 miles or more between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, down from 34.7 million last year.
That would be the biggest decline in travel during the end-of-summer holiday since at least 2000 and the first decline since 2006, the group said in its survey of 8,500 people.
The number of Americans who travel by car will fall 1.1% to 28.64 million. Meanwhile, some 3.96 million people are planning to travel by plane, a decline of 4.5% from last year. Other modes of travel, such as recreational vehicle, train and bus, are expected to get a 12.5% boost with 1.8 million travelers, AAA said.
“More travelers concerned about the economy, gasoline prices and rising airfares are opting to travel by train, bus, motorcycle and cruise ship to their holiday weekend destinations,” AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet said in a news release.