Droves of Arizonans are planning to send-off summer with labor-less getaways, according to AAA.

More than 678,000 Arizonans are projected to travel over Labor Day weekend, according to the largest leisure travel agency in North America. This is an increase of 5.8 percent from last year. Nationally, the full-service travel agency expects 34.1 million people to travel. This is a 4.2 percent increase from 2013.

“The rise we’re anticipating in Labor Day travel can in large part be attributed to optimism in the housing market,” said Amy Moreno, senior travel manager for AAA Arizona. “When you are confident about the value of large assets, such as your home, you tend to be more comfortable with spending money on family activities, such as travel.”

Highlights from AAA’s 2013 Labor Day forecast include:

• Road trips rock. About 566,000 Arizonans (83 percent) plan to drive to their Labor Day destination. This is a 6 percent increase from last year. Arizonans will pay $3.44 per gallon to fill up this year, compared to $3.46 last year. Gas prices are unlikely to be a major factor for consumers in determining whether they will travel over the last summer holiday.

• Air travel soars. More than 57,000 Arizonans plan to fly to their Labor Day destination. This is a 4.2 percent increase from last year.

• Friday and Monday are the busiest travel days. The majority of travelers (46 percent) will depart on Friday, Aug. 30. Monday, Sept. 2, is the most popular date of return for holiday trips, with 43 percent planning to return that day.

• Spending increases from 2012. Traveling Arizonans will spend $670 on Labor Day getaways. This is up 11 percent from 2012. The bulk of this — $254 — will go to transportation costs. Remaining spending will be spread among accommodations (18 percent), food and beverage (16 percent), entertainment (14 percent) and shopping (12 percent), and other expenses (3 percent).

“The 2013 summer travel season is on track to finish stronger than it started,” Moreno said. “This is great news for the economy and the travel industry.”

The 678,000 Arizonans expected to travel for Labor Day brings the total number of Arizonans who will travel or have traveled over the three summer holidays to more than 2.2 million.

Research for Labor Day travel projections are derived from IHS Global Insight, which conducts special research for AAA.

The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as travel of 50 miles or more during the five-day period from Thursday, Aug. 29, to Monday, Sept. 2. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

For more information, visit http://aaa.com/travel.

• Submitted by AAA Arizona.

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