Christmas travel will drop in Colorado, western U.S. |

Christmas travel will drop in Colorado, western U.S.

Daily Staff Report

COLORADO ” Travel in the Western U.S., including Colorado will be down 1.9 percent during the Christmas holidays, with 15.5 million Western residents traveling more than 50 miles away from home, according to AAA Colorado.

Travel by automobile will be down 1.5 percent from 2007 despite a gas price that is $1.27 less than 2007. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Colorado is $1.60.

Air travel will be down 6.7 percent in the Western region and 8.5 percent nationwide.

Travelers should expect different trends in airfares depending on the week of travel. Airfares nationwide during Christmas week are down 9 percent compared to 2007. Airfares for the week of New Years are up 3 percent.

AAA Colorado advises air passengers to check with their airline or travel agent about additional fees before booking a trip.

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AAA Colorado forecasts 63.9 million Americans, or 21 percent of the national population, expect to travel during the Christmas period. Although travel is expected to be down 2.1 percent compared to last year, the number of Americans traveling this Christmas represents the third largest volume since 2000. In 2007 there was a record high of 65.3 million holiday travelers.

Nationwide, Americans can expect lower hotel rates and higher car rental rates throughout the holiday season.

With Christmas falling on a Thursday this year, it appears that travelers are looking forward to starting their holiday trip early. Almost a third (32 percent) say they expect to begin their holiday travels on or before Sunday.

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