Travel and weather loom large for Labor Day weekend 2014

Labor Day 2014 is this coming Monday, and the gurus at AAA (the source that many depend on to forecast travel conditions) have spoken. Here’s a quick blow-by-blow rundown of what we can expect to see this weekend.

Travel stats

  • 7 million Americans will travel a distance of 50 miles or more from their residences. This represents an increase of 1.3 percent over 2013, and the highest number of Labor Day weekend travelers since 2008.
  • 7 million of these travelers (nearly 86 percent) will be going by car.
  • Almost 8 percent of 2014’s Labor Day weekend travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, representing a one percent increase over 2013.
  • Airfares that these flyers will pay for travel are about 2 percent higher than last year.
  • Car rental prices will be comparable with 2013, at an average of about $51 per day.
  • Hotel rates are expected to increase between 6 and 9 percent.

However, upward trending costs aren’t likely to deter travelers this weekend. AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney explained this upward trend: “This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation. Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

Not all prices are climbing, however. On the whole, U.S. consumers are paying less for gasoline than they have since August 2010.

Rain or shine (but probably rain)

The Weather Channel reports that most of the U.S. will have periodic showers and thunderstorms over the holiday weekend, except for the Southwest, from Texas to California.

Linda Lam reports: “Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will be tapped by a system moving across the country this Labor Day weekend. This system will bring thunderstorms and warm temperatures ahead of it to the eastern third of the country. Locally, heavy rain and dangerous lightning may accompany some of these thunderstorms.”

She adds that a Rocky Mountain and Midwestern frontal system will bring thunderstorms, followed by cool air and a preview of fall weather right behind.

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