WATCH: AAA Predicts More Americans Will Travel for Independence Day Than Ever Before

By  //  June 22, 2018

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47 Million Travelers set to hit American roadways

ABOVE VIDEO: AAA predicts more Americans will travel for this Independence Day than ever before.

(AAA) – AAA predicts more Americans will travel for this Independence Day than ever before.

A record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home, 5 percent increase from last year and the highest number since AAA began tracking 18 years ago.

The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8. For the 39.7 million Americans planning a Fourth of July road trip, Tuesday will be the busiest day on the roads.

INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be twice as long than the normal trip.

Click here to read the full report.

“We are already seeing a busy summer travel season and Independence Day will be no exception,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

“Consumers remain confident in the economy and have the additional disposable income to put toward a summer getaway.”

In addition to strong economic variables, the expected increase in travelers this year is aided by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip that begins with the weekend before or ends with the weekend after the holiday.

A record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home, 5 percent increase from last year and the highest number since AAA began tracking 18 years ago.

By the Numbers: 2018 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Total Travelers:
    • U.S. – Nearly 47 million Americans will travel for Independence Day – a 5.3 percent increase from last year.
    • Florida – Nearly 2.4 million Floridians will travel for during the holiday weekend. The 6.3 percent increase represents nearly 142,000 more travelers than last year.
  • Automobiles:
    • National – 39.7 million will hit the road this Independence Day – a 5.1 percent increase from last year.
    • Florida – Nearly 2.1 million Floridians will take a road trip. 121,000 more Floridians will be on the road than last year; an increase of 6.2 percent.
  • Planes:
    • U.S. – A record-breaking 3.8 million people will travel by air – a 7.9 percent increase and the ninth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
    • Florida – 184,000 Floridians will fly to their destination(s). The 7.7 percent increase represents 13,000 more air travelers than last year.
  • Trains, Buse, and Cruise Ships:
    • U.S. – Travel across these sectors will increase by 5.8 percent to a total of 3.5 million passengers.
    • Florida – Nearly 137,000 Floridians will travel via train, bus, and/or cruise. The 6 percent increase represents a growth of nearly 8,000 more passengers than last year.

Gas Prices Moving Lower into Independence Day

Motorists will find the most expensive Independence Day gas prices in 3-4 years. Last year’s holiday, the average price was $2.15 in Florida and $2.23 nationwide.

On July 4, 2015, gas prices averaged $2.67 in Florida and $2.77 nationwide. During the 2014 holiday, a gallon of regular averaged $3.60 in Florida and $3.66 nationwide.

On Wednesday, prices at the pump averaged $2.73 in Florida and $2.88 nationwide.  Fortunately, fuel prices are falling. Since peaking at $2.97 Memorial Day weekend, the national average declined 9 cents.

“Declining gas prices will give Americans one more reason to celebrate this Independence Day,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

“After paying some of the highest gas prices in more than three years, this break couldn’t come at a better time, as Americans prepare for the most-traveled holiday of the summer.”

AAA: Gas Prices Slip for Third Straight Week, Motorists Paying 46 Cents More Than This Time Last YearRelated Story:
AAA: Gas Prices Slip for Third Straight Week, Motorists Paying 46 Cents More Than This Time Last Year

Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion over the holiday week on Tuesday, July 3 in the late afternoon – as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

Travel times could increase two-fold in the major metros across the U.S., with drivers in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. experiencing the most significant delays.

“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, general manager and vice president – public sector, INRIX.

“Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

Worst Days/Times to Travel

Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
San Francisco, CA Tuesday, July 3 3:00 – 6:00 PM 1.7x
Seattle, WA Tuesday, July 3 3:00 – 6:00 PM 1.8x
Detroit, MI Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Los Angeles, CA Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 5:30 PM 2x
Boston, MA Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x
New York, NY Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 6:30 PM 2.3x
Atlanta, GA Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.6x
Chicago, IL Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.7x
Washington, DC Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 2.1x
Houston, TX Tuesday, July 3 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x

Travelers Paying Less for Airfare, More for Car Rentals and Hotels

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year.

However, travelers can expect to pay more to rent a car and stay at mid-range hotels this Independence Day. At $66, the average daily cost of a car rental is a slight increase of 2 percent over last year.

The average nightly rate at AAA Two Diamond hotels is $147, 11 percent more than last year, while AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, a 2 percent year-over-year increase.

Theme Parks and Europe are Major Draws this Independence Day

ABOVE VIDEO: This Independence Day, travelers will flock to theme parks in Orlando and Southern California, while many others are heading west. 

This Independence Day, travelers will flock to theme parks in Orlando and Southern California, while many others are heading west.

Alaska cruises departing from Seattle, Anchorage, and Vancouver round out the top five U.S. travel destinations for the holiday.

For those venturing overseas, Europe is a major draw, with Rome, London, Dublin and Paris all making the list of top international travel destinations for Independence Day.

Top Domestic Travel Destinations Top International Travel Destinations
  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Anaheim, California
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Anchorage, Alaska
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii
  1. Rome, Italy
  2. London, England
  3. Dublin, Ireland
  4. Vancouver, Canada
  5. Paris, France

AAA to Rescue More Than 362,000 Motorists

ABOVE VIDEO: AAA gets seven-plus million calls during the average summer, with the top 3 items being flat tires, dead batteries, and lockouts. With some simple precautions, you can avoid being a victim on the side of the road.

AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside around the Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts, and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out.

Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.

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Download the AAA Mobile App Before Independence Day

Before heading out on a trip for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Travelers who download the app gain access to the following features:

  • Request AAA roadside service
  • Find the lowest gas prices
  • Access exclusive member discounts
  • Make travel arrangements
  • Find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities
  • Review 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants and more.

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