‘Twas the days before Christmas, and all through the state, many bags and cars were packed, as holiday travel adventures await.
AAA estimates that nearly 1.2 million Kansans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the end-of-year holiday travel period, an increase of almost 3 percent compared to the 2021 travel volume. AAA defines the year-end travel period from December 23 to January 2.
Here are the agency’s projections:
- AAA is projecting that nearly 1.2 million Kansans will be traveling over the end-of-year holiday travel period. The number of overall travelers is up almost 3% from last year, slightly less than 2019.
- Nearly 93% of travelers – or 1.1 million travelers in Kansas, will be driving to their holiday destinations.
- Gas prices nationally and locally have not been this low since October 2021.
- Kansas’ statewide average yesterday was $2.79, compared to $2.99 the same time last year.
- AAA is projecting that nearly 50,000 Kansans will take to the skies, an increase of 16.2% year over year.
- AAA Kansas estimates that the auto club will rescue more than 3,000 stranded drivers over the holiday period in its Kansas territory alone.
Road Travel and Gas Prices
Consistent with most travel holidays, more than 9 in 10 travelers – or more than 1.1 million Kansans, will be driving to their holiday destinations. The number of road travelers is slightly more than last year. “The good news is that drivers will definitely be seeing the cheapest gas prices of the year – Kansas’ gas average is 20 cents less than it was a year ago,” said Shawn Steward, spokesman for AAA Kansas. In fact, gas prices nationally and locally have not been this low since October 2021. The national average on Dec. 18 was $3.14, compared to $3.30 a year ago. Kansas prices were $2.79 (10th cheapest in America), compared to $2.99 a year ago.
Drivers can find current gas prices along their route using the AAA TripTik Travel planner.
Best/Worst Times to Travel
INRIX, a provider of transportation analytics and insights, expects the most congested days on the road to be the Friday before Christmas, December 23, as well as December 27 and 28. Monday, January 2, is also expected to be a busy day on the roads, as travelers mix with commuters.
Air Travel Increases More Than 16%
Flights and airports will be packed this holiday season, reminiscent of pre-pandemic days. Demand for flights has surged despite higher airline ticket prices. AAA is projecting nearly 50,000 Kansas residents will take to the skies over the holiday period, representing a 16.2% jump compared to last year.
Like Thanksgiving, airport parking will be challenging.
Bus, Train, Other Modes of Transportation See Largest Increase – Up from 2021 volume
Consistent with national travel trends, and the Thanksgiving holiday, other modes of transportation will see the biggest jump for holiday travel. AAA is projecting that more than 38,000 Kansans will travel by cruise, bus, train or some other mode of transportation over the holiday period, an increase of 24.2% over last year.
AAA’s National Travel Projections
Nationally, AAA forecasts:
- Nearly 113 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home between December 23 and January 2. That’s an increase of approximately 3%, or 3.6 million people over last year, but still down by about 5% when compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
- Nearly 102 million Americans will drive to their holiday destinations.
- This holiday season will see an additional 2 million people driving to their destination, a 2% increase compared to 2021.
- Air travel will see a 14% increase over last year, with nearly 7.2 million Americans expected to fly.
- Other modes of transportation are also rebounding in a big way.
- AAA estimates travel by bus, rail, and cruise ship will rise to 3.6 million this holiday season, a 23% increase from last year and nearly 94% of 2019’s volume.
Busy Holiday Anticipated For AAA – Make Sure Your Battery Is Charged Up Before Hitting The Roads
AAA Kansas estimates that the auto club will rescue more than 3,000 stranded motorists in Kansas over the holiday period.
In fact, for most of the year, AAA has seen an increase in the number of car batteries needing to be replaced, so the same is expected this winter when cold weather takes a greater toll. With that in mind, AAA urges drivers, especially those whose batteries may be a few years old, to get them checked now rather than risk becoming stranded roadside in adverse conditions.
AAA Tips for Battery Care and Service
- Start your engines – Even if you are not driving to work or going out every day, make sure you start your vehicle once every few days to ensure the battery has a strong charge.
- Keep your battery clean – Periodically pop the hood and look for corrosion on the battery terminals. If you see any, clean it off with a small, stiff brush and a solution of baking soda and water. After removing the corrosion, rinse the battery with water.
- Check to make sure the terminal connections aren’t loose – If they are, tighten with a wrench.
- Get a battery checkup – The average battery lasts 3-5 years. Before hitting the road, basic vehicle maintenance should include a battery check. Book a vehicle health check at any AAA Approved Auto Repair Testing equipment today can often give you a good sense of how much life a battery has left.
- Call for FREE AAA Mobile Car Battery Service at your home or place of business – Members can call AAA at any time for a free, contactless battery checkup, and if need be, AAA will install a new battery on the spot.
2022 Projected Year-End Holiday Travelers – Kansas
|NUMBER OF TRAVELERS||Total Population||2022 Travelers||Percent of population traveling||Percent change vs. 2021|
Auto, Air & Other
|Kansas Auto||92.6% of people travel by car||1,106,337||37.7%||+1.6%|
|Kansas Air||4.2% of people travel by air||49,888||1.7%||+16.2%|
(train, bus, cruise, etc.)
|3.2% of people travel by other modes||38,150||1.3%||+24.2%|
|National TOTAL||333.1 million*||112.7 million||33.8%||+3.3%|
|National Auto |
|90.4% of people travel by car||101.8 million||30.6%||+2.0%|
|6.4% of people travel by air||7.17 million||2.2%||+14.0%|
(train, bus, cruise, etc.)
|3.2% of people travel by other modes||3.66 million||1.1%||+23.3%|
*U.S. Census Bureau (v2021)/IHS Markit