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Labor Day travel up this year

By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN Radio
Some 34.4 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the five-day holiday period, AAA says.
Some 34.4 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the five-day holiday period, AAA says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • AAA forecast shows Labor Day travel will be up nearly 10 percent
  • Vast majority of Americans are traveling by car
  • People spending more, too
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(CNN) -- Recession and Tropical Storm Earl aside, more Americans were expected to hit the roads and airways this Labor Day weekend.

AAA projected a nearly 10 percent jump in holiday travel over this time last year. Some 34.4 million Americans will visit family or friends during the five-day holiday period, traveling at least 50 miles away from home, said AAA spokeswoman Nancy White.

Last year, 31 million travelers vacationed over Labor Day.

"Consumer confidence is up this year. Last year it was really flat, in the toilet, so to speak," she said. "Consumer debt is down and there's a lot of pent-up demand. We've actually seen the holiday forecast trending up from Memorial Day, July 4th, and now for Labor Day," White told CNN Radio.

AAA travel agents reported hotel, car and vacation package reservations are up about 10 percent.

"We also anticipate that vacationers will be spending about $50 more than they were a year ago," White said.

The vast majority of vacationers -- about 91 percent -- are traveling by car.

For many Americans on a budget, road trips offer a way to get away on the cheap.

"A lot of state parks (are) reporting increases in reservations at campground sites. We know a lot of people are taking to local campgrounds and tents and RV," White added.