Low gas prices boosting numbers of holiday travelers

Two million Wisconsinites plan to travel this holiday season
Low gas prices boosting numbers of holiday travelers

Lower gas prices will drive nearly two million Wisconsinites to travel alongside nearly 99 million Americans this holiday season, according to AAA projections.

“Lower gas prices are filling stockings with a little more cash to spend on travel this year as travelers are expected to pay the lowest prices since 2009,” said Victoria Hanson, regional president for AAA Wisconsin. “Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to set aside money for travel this year.”

That sentiment is echoed by the travelers at the BP gas station in Deforest.

So as you’re traveling it’s getting less and less and less. So it’s real great if you’re going to visit people,” said Minnesota resident Tim Miller.  “A lot of cars. A lot of Christmas presents in the back. It’s been real nice. The pricing.”

“Whereas you would pay $100 in gas, you can use that extra money to buy extra gifts. Or do some extra things,” Indiana resident Asia Wilboren added.

AAA also reports airfare wars have led to a 7 percent ticket price drop.

“I think air travel is still the quick and easy way to get where you’re going in a relatively short time period, said Brent McHenry, Dane County Regional Airport marketing and communications director.

“The benefit we have this year is because the holiday is in the middle of the week, it spreads out that traffic. Everybody doesn’t need to leave tomorrow because it’s Christmas Eve,” McHenry said.  “We have many days to get people to where they need to go. That’ll keep the pressure off of people having to get there the very last minute.”

The upward travel trend AAA is projecting marks the highest forecast growth rate for the year-end holiday season since 2009 and the highest travel volume for the holiday period on record.  The Wisconsin increase is 4 percent overlast year.