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Record numbers expected for long holiday travel period

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via Flickr

The holiday travel season begins today. And a trend of more people hitting the road for the holidays is continuing.

Travel service AAA is projecting 98.6 million Americans will be someplace else for at least part of the holidays, a record number.

"It’s up 4 percent compared to last year. It’s also the highest travel volume on record. And AAA’s data does date back 13 years," said AAA spokeswoman Diana Dibble.

AAA recorded increases in travel for Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays, too.

Dibble says the calendar is impacting why more people traveling for the holidays.

"Both holidays, Christmas and New Year’s, fall on a Thursday, which extend the travel period to a 13-day travel period, which is one day longer than last year," she said.

Gas prices also have a lot to do with it. Fuel prices in central New York are down about $1.10 from their peak in April. Declining fuel costs are also helping airline fares, which AAA says are down 7 percent from last Christmas time.

As for where people are traveling over the next two weeks, Dibble says it’s pretty random. But most people travel to be with family within 50 to 100 miles.