The holidays –couched by some as “the most wonderful time of the year” -can, in fact, not be so wonderful if you’re totally stressed about travelling and getting gifts or cards to loved ones across the states, or around the world.  As such, @livemore believes that the more information you have, the better you can prepare yourself for the holiday “onslaught.”  Below, we give you some facts, figures and important dates that should help you frame your plans for the holidays in a more prepared manner.  That said – happy holidays from the @livemore fam!

Numbers Please!

The number of peeps travelling during this period of time – Turkey Day to the New Year – is the most of any time of year.  The concentration of travel varies significantly, with Thanksgiving week being the most clustered, and the weeks between Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year, a bit more spread out.  As an associated article points out – PLAN AHEAD – CHECK OFTEN – ADJUST AS NEEDED.

So, who is taking a road/air/train trip this coming holiday season?  The numbers from last year (when gas prices were slightly higher than mid-October prices) bear witness to what to expect.  Here we go – use these numbers and information to better plan your travel and holiday plans.

 

46.3 million Americans expect to take a trip during Thanksgiving Holiday;

89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile;

3.55 million Americans taking to the skies during Thanksgiving Holiday;

The average distance traveled during the 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday was 549 miles roundtrip – and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend;

Travelers allocated approximately 31 percent of their budgets to fuel transportation. In 2014 that would equate to about $178, so take that into consideration when making transportation choices for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Today’s (October 15, 2015) national average price of gas is $2.29; last year at this time it was $2.85 per gallon.

The Rest of the Holidays (Turkey Day to New Yearís Day)

This time of year is hectic, to say the least, but travel plans and preparations for the holidays can be planned and anticipated.  Here are a few facts and tips to help you be better prepared.

 

In 2014 AAA projected that 98.6 million people planned to journey 50 miles or more from home, a 4 percent increase over 2013.  With the economy stable and gas prices presumably lower, this figure will probably be the same, or higher for 2015.

Most of the travelers, 89.5 million, travelled by car, while 5.7 million went by air, AAA says, based on its annual holiday survey. The rest (3.4 million) went by train.  Approximate breakout – 90.7% by car; 5.75% by air; 3.4% by train.

Americans spent an estimated $83 billion on holiday travel in 2014, according to a 2014 survey from Hotwire. $66 billion of this spending came from Christmas alone, and holiday-travel spending as a whole was estimated to be up $11 billion from 2013.  Expect similar or higher figures for 2015

Every year, the US Postal Service (USPS) plays an integral role in making everyone’s lives more enjoyable during the holiday season.  Last year the USPS made a concerted effort to get the word out that “This is our season!”  USPS provided a lot of useful information on how many packages they move, and dates for which you should be prepared to ship your cards and gifts.  Here is the breakdown and schedule for 2015.

 

Busiest Mailing/ Delivery Days

Busiest mailing day for cards, letters and packages: Tuesday, December 15

Busiest delivery day for cards and letters: Thursday, December 17

Busiest delivery day for packages: Friday, December 18

 

Mail-By Dates for Domestic Mail

December 15, Standard Post

December 20, First-Class Mail

December 20, Priority Mail

December 23, Priority Mail Express

 

USPS Facts & Figures from 2014

The Postal Service is projecting 15.5 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. The increase from last year is due to the increase in advertising mail and package volume;

12.7 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. (Holiday volume between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve for 2013 was 14.7 billion pieces; 2012 was 15.2 billion pieces; and 2011 was 16.5 billion pieces.)

On average, the Postal Service processes 523 million pieces of mail every day. During the holiday season, that volume increases to 553 million pieces of mail daily. The increase from last year is due to the increase in advertising mail and package volume (545 million in 2013; 560 million in 2012).

The Postal Service expects to process about 640 million pieces of mail on December 15. The increase from last year is due to the increase in advertising mail and package volume (607 million in 2013; 658 million in 2012).

The Postal Service is projecting 470 million packages will be delivered this holiday season, a 12% increase over last year’s volume of 420 million. (2013 was 420 million packages; a 12% increase over 2012 volume of 383 million.)

About 3 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office this year and use Click-N-Ship to mail packages — 10 percent more than last year.

Beginning December 3, the National Operations Center will be staffed around the clock, seven days a week, to monitor and coordinate mail transportation nationwide.