This year the overall number of area Labor Day travelers, most of whom will be traveling by automobile, is expected to be up by more than 5 percent over last year's three-day weekend holiday because of improved consumer confidence.
More than 2.5 million Mountain West area residents are expected to travel over the three-day weekend, said Rolayne Fairclough, spokeswoman for Utah AAA.
That projection reflects an overall increase of 5.4 percent over the number of area residents who traveled this same time last year, she said.
The AAA travel forecast predicts residents will travel 50 miles or more from their homes this weekend.
"This resurgence of travel is partly due to improved consumer confidence, which is at a much higher level than 2012," Fairclough said. "Although there are lingering budgetary concerns, Utahns will not let this last opportunity to celebrate summer go back without a quick holiday getaway."
This year automobile travel will be the preferred mode of transportation, with more than 2.1 million area residents driving to reach their destinations, a 5.5 percent increase compared to 2012.
More than 217,000 residents plan to travel by air for an increase of 3.8 percent compared to last year, while another 210,000 residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft.
Nationally, AAA projects more than 34 million people will travel 50 miles or farther during the Labor Day weekend, representing a 4.2 percent increase compared to 2012, Fairclough said.
The AAA Leisure Travel Index shows airfares over Labor Day weekend are expected to increase by 4 percent over last year, with an average cost of $214 per ticket.
Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to average $161 per night, up by 4 percent from a year ago.
Weekend vehicle rentals are expected to jump 32 percent, with a new average daily rate of $51 per customer.
The expenditures for a family of four are expected to average $670 over the weekend, with the average road trip to cover 1,060 miles.
AAA's survey shows hiking, touring and sightseeing, visiting family and friends, and shopping will be the preferred leisure activities for area families.
One other favorite activity over the weekend is expected to be biking.