Lower fuel prices and high consumer confidence continue to drive travel and tourism

BOISE – (March 21, 2019) – Expect the roads and airports to stay busy this year.  According to AAA’s new research on family travel, nearly 100 million Americans (4 in 10 adults) will take at least one vacation with loved ones this year – a slight increase over 2018 numbers.

“Last year saw new records for Independence Day and Christmas travel volume, and Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weren’t far behind,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “The stage has been set for another big year.”

According to AAA, the majority of family travelers say they plan to take part in a Great American road trip this year.  In addition, many will make a journey to a national park, state park, or theme park, but the number of visitors to those destinations is expected to drop by 11 percent, suggesting that some travelers may explore other options this year.

“The recent centennial celebration for the National Parks drove attendance for the last couple of years, but those numbers appear to be trailing off,” Conde said.  “This may be a perfect opportunity to cross a national park off your bucket list and fight smaller crowds.”

AAA’s travel editors have curated more than 450 pre-planned road trips, and three of the five most popular routes are within striking distance for many Idahoans: Las Vegas to National Parks, Northern California and Southern Oregon Coast, and the Black Hills of South Dakota.  The Northern New England and Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina) routes round out the top five.

Motorists have enjoyed budget-friendly gas prices to begin the year.  So far, drivers have saved nearly a quarter per gallon over last year.  Although some experts say that the global economy could slow down in 2019, high consumer confidence will likely keep families on the go.

“It makes sense that most traveling families will hit the road in the spring and summer (45 percent and 68 percent respectively), while the kids are out of school,” Conde said.  “But it’s interesting that nearly one-third of them are planning a fall getaway, and about a quarter will go during the winter.  That tells you that if people can find a good value, they’re ready to take advantage of it.”