Monday, Aug. 27, 2012 | 11:55 a.m.
If you’re planning to mark the end of the summer by hitting the road for the Labor Day holiday this weekend, you’re not alone.
More than 2.4 million people from Mountain West region are expected to travel at least 50 miles over the holiday weekend, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2011, according to a news release issued Monday by AAA. The Mountain West region encompasses Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The typical Mountain West family of four is expected to spend an average of $596 over the weekend, and the average road trip is predicted to span 905 miles, according to AAA.
Despite high gas prices and the economic downturn, consumer confidence is still up as people expect the economy to recover, said AAA Nevada spokesperson Cynthia Harris. As a result, people still are traveling, although their habits are shifting. People are traveling closer to home and more people are choosing to stay with family and friends instead of hotels or choosing camping as an affordable alternative, Harris said.
Before 2008, when travelers had more economic security, more people were traveling 100 miles or more during their Labor Day weekend, she said.
“This just shows the resilience of Nevadans, who are able to cut back and still travel,” Harris said.
Harris advises motorists to save fuel by keeping tires properly inflated, observing the speed limit, avoiding hard acceleration and traveling light.
More than 200,000 Mountain West residents also are expected to travel by air, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2011, according to AAA. Another 200,000 residents are expected to travel using other modes of transportation, such as rail, or bus, a slight increase of .1 percent.
Nationally, about 33 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the Labor Day weekend, a 2.9 percent increase from 2011, according to AAA.
A survey by AAA polling Mountain West families found their top leisure activities to include touring, sightseeing, dining and visiting family and friends.