AAA: Labor Day weekend travel to hold steady

WASHINGTON — The summer vacation season is expected to end with a burst of travel over Labor Day weekend.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates that 35.5 million Americans, including 850,700 in the D.C. area, will travel over the final holiday weekend of summer.

The auto group estimates that 87 percent of area travelers will get where they’re going by car; seven percent are expected to travel by air and five percent by other modes of transportation, including bus and rail.

Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 7. The holiday is celebrated on the first Monday in September, and it arrives a little later than usual this month, which tends to dampen enthusiasm for travel.

“It’s the latest that Labor Day can arrive. … Then you have fewer people traveling because the kids are already in school,” says John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

But this year is an exception: AAA forecasts a 0.4 percent increase in travel in the Washington area over Labor Day weekend last year.

Labor Day road trippers may be pleased by prices at the pump.

“Gas prices are trending downward. They’re below the $2.50 mark in our area and that’s the big incentive for people to travel this holiday weekend … We’re paying about 80 cents less than we were at this time last year,” says Townsend.

While there’ll be more traffic for Labor Day weekend, a AAA Mid-Atlantic survey reveals that plenty of people also will chill at backyard barbecues or in front of the TV set. According to the study, 68 percent of those surveyed plan to be “catching up on things at home” during the holiday weekend.

Folded-paper maps, once a staple of road trips continue to fade in popularity. The survey, covering residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and D.C., finds that while about 33 percent still used printed maps, more than 55 percent say they use GPS.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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