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AAA: 2011 holiday season travel up 1.4 percent

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Dec. 14, 2011—AAA forecasts that 91.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their home during the 2011 year-end holiday season, a 1.4 percent increase compared to 2010 when 90.7 million people traveled that distance. 

AAA said this year's expected holiday travel represents 30 percent of the total U.S. population—the second highest travel volume in the past decade. AAA defines the year-end holiday travel season as Dec. 23 through Jan. 2.

Automobiles are the top transportation choice for travelers this year, according to AAA. The organization said roughly 83.6 million people, 91 percent of holiday travelers, plan to travel by car—a 2.1 percent increase compared to 2010.

The real gross domestic product in the U.S., the country’s measure of economic activity, is expected to increase by 1.5 percent for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, according to AAA. That is the primary factor expected to drive this year's increase in holiday travel.

"It's a positive sign for the travel industry that so many Americans are planning to travel this holiday season, collectively contributing to the second highest year-end holiday travel volume in the past ten years," said Brad Roeber, regional president of AAA Chicago. "As our lives get busier, it is so important to create opportunities for the rest and rejuvenation that result from vacation travel and connecting with family and friends, especially during the holidays."

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