July 4th Travel Expected To Set New Record

July 4th Travel Expected To Set New Record

AAA is predicting the busiest July 4th holiday travel period ever – breaking pre-pandemic records- with 70.9 million travelers heading 50 miles or more from home.  For the first time, AAA says it looked at the entire July 4th week, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday. Researchers say overall the projected number of travelers this year increases 5% compared to last year – and 8% higher over 2019, before Covid. 

“With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019.”  

AAA says it projects a record 60.6 million people will travel by car over Independence Day week – that’s an additional 2.8 million travelers compared to last year. This year’s number also surpasses 2019 when 55.3 million people traveled by car over July 4th week. AAA says its rental partner Hertz cites Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as the cities with the highest rental demand during the holiday week. The busiest pick-up days are projected to be Friday, June 28, Saturday, June 29, and Wednesday, July 3.  

In some good news for drivers,  gas prices are lower than last year when the national average was $3.53. AAA says it expected pump prices to continue going down leading up to Independence Day when at that point they’ll likely level off and remain relatively stable until after Labor Day, similar to last year.   AAA does caution that n important caveat is hurricane season – underway now – which could affect gas prices should a storm negatively impact Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers. 

AAA say the number of air travelers is also expected to set a new record. It projects 5.74 million people will fly to their July 4th destinations,  an increase of nearly 7% compared to last year and a 12% increase over 2019. AAA says its booking data shows domestic airfare is 2% cheaper this Independence Day week compared to last year, and the average price for a domestic roundtrip ticket is $800. Airports will be packed throughout the week. AAA recommends travelers get to the airport 2 hours early, reserving parking ahead of time, and use carry-on luggage versus checked bags which will save you both time and money.

More than 4.6 million people are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, including buses, cruises, and trains. This category is seeing an increase of 9% compared to last year, but this year’s number is shy of 2019’s figure of 4.79 million. Cruising continues its remarkable post-pandemic comeback. This time of year, Alaska cruises are in high demand, making Seattle and Anchorage top domestic destinations. Cruise travelers are also finding deals this summer. With new ships coming onto the market – and going for a premium – some cruise lines have been offering targeted discounts to fill older inventory for remaining cabins. 

For the full report, including best and worst times to travel, click here.





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