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Forecast: Most Labor Day travelers since recession

By Aaron Cooper, CNN
updated 7:29 AM EDT, Tue August 20, 2013
Eighty-five percent of travelers -- more than 29 million -- are expected to travel by car over Labor Day.
Eighty-five percent of travelers -- more than 29 million -- are expected to travel by car over Labor Day.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 4.2% more Americans are expected to travel for Labor Day 2013 than last year
  • AAA's travel forecast indicates the highest level of Labor Day travel since 2008
  • Improving consumer confidence and a recovering economy are factors in the jump

(CNN) -- What are you doing this Labor Day weekend? If you're like 34 million Americans, you're planning to get away from home.

The 2013 AAA Labor Day Travel Forecast projects 4.2% more Americans will go more than 50 miles this year than in 2012.

The total is a new post-recession high with the most Labor Day travelers since 2008.

AAA credits the upward projection to an improving economy, increased consumer spending and the recovering housing market.

"For many Americans, their home is also their biggest asset, as home prices improve in many parts of the country more families are feeling comfortable about traveling," AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a statement.

Another factor that may affect the increase is the date of Labor Day this year, September 2. Americans have shown a higher inclination to travel when the holiday falls earlier in the month, AAA has found.

"The three highest-volume holiday travel years since 2000 have come in 2008, 2003, and 2002, when Labor Day fell on either September 1 or 2," the report notes.

The average Labor Day traveler will go nearly 600 miles round trip and spend $804, $55 more than in 2012, AAA determined.

Of those traveling, 85% will take to the roads and 8% will fly.

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