After a record amount of Illinoisans hit the road for Thanksgiving, even more of us are planning on heading away from home again for the Christmas holiday weekend, according to a new report. And, the majority of those traveling will be in the car.

‘Tis the season to spend with family and friends, and this year Americans are traveling in record numbers. AAA forecasts 107.3 million Americans will take to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation during the year-end holiday period from Saturday, December 23rd through Monday, January 1st. This will be the highest year-end travel volume on record and a 3.1 percent increase in travel volume compared with last year.

2017 marks the ninth consecutive year of rising year-end holiday travel. Since 2005, total year-end holiday travel volume has grown by 21.6 million, an increase of more than 25 percent. Across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and AAA projects the same for the year-end holiday period.

In Illinois, over 5.5 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 2.3 percent increase from 2016. Of those travelers, 5.1 million will be driving (up 2.3 percent from 2016) and 303,000 will be flying to their destination (a 3.1 percent increase from 2016). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.51, down from $2.72 last month and up from $2.28 a year ago.

Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, AAA Travel:

Overall, our research shows that Americans are doing better than last year and want to go somewhere for the holidays. Whether they are going home or visiting a new destination, Americans have more money to finance their travel plans, thanks to a stronger economy and growing consumer confidence. Depending on where your travels take you, consider using a travel agent to plan your final trip of the year. Of course, winter weather can be unpredictable, and cause unexpected issues like flight delays or cancellations. If that happens to you, the right travel insurance plan will help offset out-of-pocket expenses.

AAA says that our mode of transportation over the holiday weekend looks like this:

  • Automobiles: The majority of travelers - 97.4 million - will hit the road (a 3 percent year-over-year increase).
  • Planes: 6.4 million people will travel by air, a 4.1 percent increase and the fourth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses, Rails and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 2.2 percent to 3.6 million.