More Americans than ever recorded by AAA, ~49 million, plan to travel this Independence Day holiday. For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9%.
Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday.
Independence Day Travel by Type
- Automobiles: Most travelers – 41.4 million – will drive, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year.
- Planes: 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6% to 3.55 million passengers.
With today’s national average of $2.66, gas prices are 19 cents less year-over-year and expected to drop even lower into the summer. This is motivating record numbers of travelers to take road trips for the holiday weekend.
“Gas prices are, on average, 17 cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”
Travelers Paying More
Some of the savings travelers get from lower gas prices will go toward other travel costs this holiday, which are trending higher. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily. Meanwhile, midrange accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.
Fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 the list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:
- Orlando, Florida
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Anaheim, California
- New York, New York
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Maui, Hawaii
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Chicago, Illinois
Europe is the destination of choice for an international vacation. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada — a top departure port for Alaskan cruises — rounding out the top five.
According to Hertz, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.
AAA to Help 367,000 Motorists
AAA expects to help nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers. AAA says it’s not too late to plan an Independence Day trip. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.