More than 93 million Americans are expected to head to a destination 50-plus miles from their home this holiday season, marking the highest number of travelers since 2006, AAA predicts. If that total holds, it will be a 1.6 percent increase from the 91.8 million who hit the roads during the 2011 holidays.
The main dates of travel are between December 22 and January 1, and the majority of people who take trips during that time frame use their cars to get to their destination. More than 90 percent of all travelers will be driving, which puts more than one-quarter of the U.S. population on the roads - regardless of weather conditions, gas prices or the economy.
"The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation," said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago.
The average distance traveled will be somewhere around 760 miles, and anyone driving that great of a distance should be prepared to deal with unexpected hazards along the way. Getting a car tune up can help avoid problems during a trip and should be at the top of every driver's to-do list.