Regional travel expected to be down for the holidays

    While many Americans can be found gassing up their cars for a long distance road trip or rushing to catch a flight this holiday season, the majority of the Philadelphia region is choosing to save cash by staying close to home.

    This year’s holiday travel numbers are expected to increase by nearly 4% nationwide, marking the second highest travel period in the decade. However, fewer locals are choosing to spend the holidays on the road and in the air this year.

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    While many Americans can be found gassing up their cars for a long distance road trip or rushing to catch a flight this holiday season, the majority of the Philadelphia region is choosing to save cash by staying close to home.

    AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates a 5% decline in the region’s travel for the 2009 year-end holidays. Spokesperson Cathy Rossi says the drop in local estimates is mainly due to the economic downturn.

    Rossi:The South Atlantic region of the country and mid-Atlantic region really entered the economic crisis a little bit later than the rest of the nation. Thus, we say that a slower recovery is really following suit. Unemployment in this region is a little higher than the national average so the Mid-Atlantic region is really catching up with the nation.

    The average price at the pump this holiday season is one dollar higher than last year, while national car rental and airfare rates are up 2%.

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