December 20, 2006 11:30 ET

Record Number of Travelers Plan Trips Over Christmas-New Year Holidays, Says AAA Texas

HOUSTON, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 20, 2006 -- A record number of travelers in Texas, more than 5 million, plan to take holiday trips over this Christmas-New Year's period, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to last year, according to AAA Texas.

More than 86 percent of holiday travelers will be traveling by car, or about 4.3 million people, which is a 1.7 percent increase over 2005.

This year's air travel by Texans is expected to increase 3.1 percent over last year, with about 435,000 statewide flying to their destinations. More than 250,000 will take a cruise, bus or train trip, which is a 1.8 percent increase over the Christmas-New Year's holiday in 2005.

"As travelers did in 2005, holiday travelers over this period have two three-day weekends even if they don't take extra vacation time over the holiday, so that will provide more opportunities to get away -- even for a short trip," said AAA Texas spokesperson Rose Rougeau.

Nationally, 64.9 million people are expected to travel over the Christmas-New Year period which is the most popular holiday travel period of the year.

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

1) Orlando, Florida
2) Colorado
3) Las Vegas, Nevada
4) Cruises out of Galveston
5) New York City, New York
The holiday travel projections are based on a survey conducted for AAA by the Travel Industry Association of America.

Because many travelers will be heading to the mountains and ski resort areas, AAA Texas offers the following winter car safety tips:

--  Prior to departure, have your car checked to make sure the fluid
    levels are adequate, tire treads are not worn, belts and hoses are in good
    condition, and windshield wipers are working well.
--  Bring tire chains when driving to the mountains, even if the forecast
    doesn't call for snow. Conditions can change quickly.
--  Pack an emergency kit, a working cell phone and warm clothes in case
    you get stranded. The kit should contain first aid supplies, a blanket,
    water and food, a flashlight and a small shovel for digging around tires if
    the vehicle gets stuck.

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