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Most regional travel expected for Labor Day since 2008
Holiday period started Thursday, AAA expects roadways to be busy
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 AAA discourages posting to social media in advance of Labor Day travel

With more than 35 million Americans planning to get away over the holiday weekend, AAA Insurance wants to insure that homeowners don’t come home to heartache. 

An empty home – and there will be tens of thousands of them in Kansas over the holiday weekend - increases the risk of theft. AAA is reminding homeowners to lock up not just their jewels, but also banking and personal documents with sensitive information.

“We are all guilty of leaving critical information sitting around on a desk or by our computers. And, it’s the first thing burglars take for future access to your credit cards, bank account or Social Security Number,” says AAA Kansas spokesman, Jim Hanni.

Also, Hanni says, “you’re inviting trouble by letting your Facebook ‘friends’ know you’ll be out of town for the weekend. Nearly all residential burglaries are crimes of opportunity.” Hanni adds, “Advertising on social media that your house will be unoccupied is not a good idea.”

AAA Insurance recommends homeowners take these ‘top 10’ precautions before going on vacation at any time of year:

• Lock bills, bank statements and sensitive personal documents in a safe place

• Hide prescription medications – often the 2nd most valuable to thieves, after personal information

• Don’t share your vacation plans on social media – wait until you are home to post pictures

• Turn off water – regardless of the time of year

• Lock up automatic garage door openers

• Hide or lock up keys for vehicles left at home

• Put a few lights on timers with varying start times

• Stop mail/newspaper, even for a few days

• Notify your alarm company

• Notify a trusted neighbor

AAA also recommends taking a simple video of all rooms and valuables for future use in the event of a robbery. 

 During the Labor Day holiday, which begins today, 35.5 million Americans are planning to travel at least 50 miles from home during the five-day holiday period that runs through Monday. AAA projects more than 2.7 million people from the West North Central Region, of which Kansas is a part, will journey at least 50 miles or more from home for Labor Day Weekend, the highest travel volume for the region since 2008 and the third highest in a decade. 

“While the increase of Labor Day travel for our region is less than one percent, nearly 90 percent plan to travel by automobile, making our region the second highest for auto travel in the country and the second highest percentage of the total population traveling, nearly 13 percent. The National average is 85 percent.” said Jim Hanni, executive vice president, public affairs. 

The region also includes Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Rising wages and falling gas prices have helped boost disposable income, expected to increase 3.5 percent compared to last year, but a cautious consumer is using some of that money to save and pay debts.

In a survey of our AAA members, most (34 percent) plan departure on Friday and return (43 percent) on Monday. The movement of gas prices will have no impact on 70 percent of respondents’ decision to travel. 

Other survey Results from Kansas AAA Member-Travelers:

• Top three auto travel destination for Labor Day vacations: Mt. Rushmore, Colorado, Kansas City, 

• More than 30 percent plan to travel with children

• Top three activities planned: dining, visiting friends/family, sightseeing, in that order.

• Where are they staying: hotel/motel; with friends/family; camping, in that order.

Vehicle Maintenance Takes No Vacation

Proper auto maintenance is key to avoiding a breakdown this weekend. Over Labor Day weekend in 2014, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team responded to more than 1,100 calls for assistance from stranded Kansas motorists, including 479 calls for tows, 250 for battery problems, 201 for key lockouts and 134 calls for tire service. With weekend temperatures projected to reach 90 degrees AAA urges motorists to check their vehicle batteries, fluid levels, tires, belts and hoses before hitting the road.


Gas prices

Today’s Kansas average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.35. Kansas enters Labor Day 2015 with the lowest Labor Day average price since 2004. A graph of Kansas Labor Day prices back to 2004 is provided below. The Kansas average has dropped for 17 consecutive days now going back to August 17. Kansas averaged $2.50 for the month of August, down 81 cents from the $3.31 average for August, 2014, a 24 percent drop. Lower worldwide global demand, the impending switchover to winter blends of fuel, economic woes in China, the prospect of Iranian oil adding to already abundant supplies has overshadowed some refinery problems, and hurricane issues have not disrupted supplies to date.

What Will I Pay for Gas On My Trip?

Drivers can use AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report to find the lowest-priced fuel at home, across the state or nationwide. Plot your most fuel efficient route on your next trip. AAA’s Fuel Cost calculator allows you to input your start and destination city, make & model of your car and then show about how much you will spend on gas.