Labor Day holiday weekend travel expected to reach levels not seen in five years
Most Floridians drive to their destinations.
7:22 PM, Aug 30, 2013
9:50 PM, Aug 30, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. -
Our roads and highways remain the top choice among travelers that want to get away for the Labor Day weekend.
"With 1.5 million Florida residents driving to their destination, a lot of them are coming into Tampa or driving through Tampa. So we are kind of that central area in and out," said Jessica Brady with AAA.
And with gas prices nearly 30 cents per gallon cheaper than they were at this time last year, more people are filling up and heading out.
Keith Rowland and his girlfriend live in Clearwater. And they're stocking the cooler at a gas station on Gulf to Bay Blvd. while they fill up before heading out for a long weekend in Orlando. It's a Labor Day getaway they've been anticipating.
"We've been saving for a month to get away on this weekend. Putting a little money away every week. And we can't really afford it because you never know what's going to come up next. But, we're doing it anyway," said Rowland.
Officials say an increase in consumer spending, coupled with an improved housing market, will likely lead a four percent increase in Labor Day travel compared to last year.
"All those factors combined we think are leading to the highest people traveling for Labor Day that we've seen since 2008," explained Brady.
Lynn Eckman of New Port Richey is one of the thousands of Florida travelers that AAA predicts will drive less than 50 miles to get to their long weekend vacation. They're at Clearwater Beach with friends to celebrate a birthday in the group.
"Save a little bit here and there and a getaway is just good for you. And you need to; you need to de-stress, relax and enjoy friends and family," said Eckman.
We did talk to a few people from out of state that told us they came to our gulf beaches just for the long weekend. So it appears both in-town and out of town guests are enjoying their long holiday weekend right here in the bay area.