The number of people traveling in South Dakota over the upcoming holiday has been on the rise for five years and has hit a new record.
Officials with AAA South Dakota predict 267,000 South Dakotans will hit the road or the skies this season and go 50 miles or more from home.
“We think the high number of South Dakotans traveling, a one percent increase over last year, reflects the state’s solid economy,” AAA spokeswoman Marilyn Buskohl said. “Also fueling these higher travel numbers is the longer holiday travel window, 12 days this year rather than the 11 last year.”
Nationwide, the number of year-end holiday travelers, 94.5 million, is an increase of 0.6 percent from the 94 million people who traveled last year.
In a news release, AAA highlighted this year’s 2013-2014 AAA year-end holiday travel forecast:
- 93 percent of South Dakota travelers will be getting to their destination by car or pickup, an increase of 1.3 percent over last year.
- Nationwide, 91 percent of travelers will be traveling by car, an increase of 0.9 percent.
- Nearly 30 percent of all Americans will take a trip this holiday, with more than one in four taking a road trip.
- Almost 32 percent of all South Dakotans will be traveling over the 12-day holiday period.
- Nationally, holiday air travel is expected to decline slightly to 5.53 million travelers from last year.
- In South Dakota, 8,505 travelers will be flying to their destinations this year, a decline of 1.1 percent from year-ago figures.
- According to the survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled is expected to be 805 miles, an increase of 45 miles from last year.
South Dakota’s current statewide average price for self-serve regular gasoline is $3.10, down from $3.17 as recently as November 27. That's 87 cents less than the 2013 high. AAA officials believe prices will continue to decline through the end of the year due to rising supplies and increased refinery production.