Well-heeled drivers expected for holiday | VailDaily.com

Well-heeled drivers expected for holiday

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Americans are a mobile lot, and 39 million of us will hit the road for at least 50 miles this weekend, according to the American Automobile Club.

We’ll drive a little less than we did last year, but spend a little more, says Kevin Hobbs, AAA’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Last year, 40 million of us traveled for the Fourth of July weekend.

The Independence Day holiday travel period runs from Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.

Travelers say they’ll spend about 25 percent more than they did last year. Hobbs said. Some of it’s driven by higher prices for fuel, food and hotel rooms, and some is just more consumer spending.

Fuel prices across AAA’s Mountain Region – Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Montana – are between 80 cents and a dollar higher per gallon than they were last year, according to AAA’s fuel survey.

“But prices are down 35 cents from just a month ago,” Hobbs said.

AAA’s survey found that 56 percent of us do not care what gasoline costs, we’re going anyway.

Middle and upper income travelers, the Vail Valley’s target market, are expected to hit the road in a big way, Hobbs said.

Travelers with a household income of more than $100,000 are expected to increase to 35 percent from 26 percent. The percentage of travelers with a household income of $50,000 or less is expected to decrease from 41 percent to 33 percent, AAA says.

When we hit the road, 84 percent of us will do it in the comfort of our own personal vehicles on an American highway, the AAA survey says.

Just over 3 million holiday travelers (8 percent of us) will fly during the holiday weekend, a 9 percent increase from last year’s 2.75 million air travelers.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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