SOURCE: AAA Texas

August 30, 2006 01:01 ET

Labor Day Travel Numbers Hold Steady in Texas, Says AAA

HOUSTON, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 30, 2006 -- Nearly 2.7 million Texans will be taking end-of-summer getaways this holiday weekend, an increase of 1.7 percent compared to last year's 2.63 million travelers, according to AAA Texas.

More than 91 percent of the state's travelers -- or 2.45 million -- will travel at least 50 miles by automobile to holiday destinations, while nearly 115,000 Texans will fly and nearly 121,000 will take a cruise, bus or train trip, AAA Texas predicts. The number of drivers is expected to increase by 2.5 percent over last Labor Day, while the number of air travelers is projected to decrease by 5.1 percent.

"We're seeing an increase in car travel this year at least partly because air travel has become less affordable due to higher jet fuel costs," said AAA Texas spokesperson Rose Rougeau. "While this year's gas prices have taken a toll on many families' vacation budgets, a driving trip is still a less expensive means to make a getaway."

Nationwide, 35.2 million Labor Day travelers are expected, which is a 1.2 percent increase from last year.

The most popular destinations for Texans, according to a survey of AAA Travel agents, are:

1)   Grand Canyon
2)   Florida driving destinations
3)   Las Vegas, Nevada
4)   San Antonio, Texas
5)   Branson, Missouri
The current average price for a gallon of self-serve regular is $2.717, nearly 18 cents higher than last year's average of $2.539 a gallon.

Travelers who will be flying to holiday destinations this weekend will have to deal with new security regulations banning most liquids and gels from carry-on baggage. AAA advises air travelers to check the Transportation Security Administration's web site at www.tsa.gov before departure for any security rule updates, and to allow extra time ahead of the flight in case of security checkpoint delays.

The Labor Day travel projections are based on a survey conducted for AAA by the Travel Industry Association of America.

AAA Texas, a member of the American Automobile Association federation of motor clubs, has been serving Texans since 1902. Today, more than a million AAA Texas members benefit from the organization's roadside assistance service, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing, trip planning services, and traffic safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on AAA Texas' web site at www.aaa.com.

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