Despite an uncertain weather forecast, nearly 2.3 million Marylanders will travel between Christmas and New Year’s Day, AAA Mid-Atlantic projected Monday — a 3.2 percent increase from last year’s projection and the auto club’s highest-ever holiday travel forecast.

It’s the fifth consecutive year that more than 2 million Marylanders are expected to travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1, and the ninth consecutive year that estimate has grown, AAA said.


Although gas prices are 13 cents higher than this time last year, more than 90 percent of those traveling for the holiday are expected to drive, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Ragina Cooper Averella said. The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline has dropped nine cents in the last month, to $2.42, as of Sunday.

“Marylanders are willing to open up their wallets not only for holiday shopping, but to spend on travel this holiday season, as well,” Averella said in a statement.

A strong economy and labor market are to thank for increased income and consumer confidence, she said.

A lingering cold front next weekend could create wintry conditions, but it’s too soon to tell whether any snow will result, said Isha Renta, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty for the weekend forecast right now,” she said. “We’re going to have a front moving through Saturday, but it’s uncertain what’s going to happen.”

Any potential for snow isn’t expected to deter the estimated 2.1 million Marylanders who are expected to drive to their holiday destinations, a 3.1 percent increase from last year, according to AAA.

Still, all eyes will be on the weather forecast, Renta said.

“If people are going to travel,” she said, “they just need to keep an eye out for icy, snowy conditions in case they appear in the forecast.”

More than 126,000 passengers are expected to fly for the holidays, a 3.8 percent increase in air travel that represented the most growth of any single mode of travel, AAA said.

The number of people taking buses, trains, cruises and other modes of transportation to their winter holiday getaways is expected to grow 3.5 percent, AAA said.