AAA: Nearly 663,000 Kentuckians are expected to travel this July 4 weekend; many will take the roads


With the summer travel season in full swing, Kentuckians are expected to make the most of the upcoming Independence Day holiday, with 662,881 people across the Commonwealth expected to travel 50 miles or more from June 30 to July 4.

AAA projects nationwide travel volumes will reach approximately 47.9 million people, slightly lower than 2019 volumes, and the second highest number of trips since 2000. Car travel will set a new record , despite high gas prices, with 42 million people nationwide — including 563,674 Kentuckians — taking to the roads.

After many postponed summer travel for two years, the volume of travelers forecast for the Independence Day weekend is an indicator that summer travel is kicking into high gear, despite the pain in the pump.

“People are ready for a break. Despite the rising cost of goods and services, including fuel, many are finding ways to take that much-needed vacation,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, Public Affairs Manager, AAA Blue Grass.

Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns about cancellations and delays could be behind the record volume of car travel seen nationwide. In fact, the share of people traveling by air will be the lowest since 2011.

“Traveling by personal vehicle offers a level of comfort and flexibility that many are looking for, given recent challenges with flying,” continued Weaver Hawkins. “But not all destinations are accessible by car. The best advice we can give travelers is to work with a travel agent who can help you plan for the unexpected, like a flight cancellation. They are your best advocate and can take much of the headache out of planning, booking, cancellations and other concerns so you can relax and enjoy your trip.

Kentucky residents react to high gas prices

A new AAA survey asked Kentuckians how gas prices impact their summer travel plans. The survey found nearly equal numbers of Kentuckians say gas prices didn’t make their decision to take a summer road trip (37%) and they didn’t plan to taking a summer road trip due to high gas prices (41%). Another 23% say they canceled plans for a summer road trip due to high gas prices.

Despite the higher cost to fuel up, 46% of Kentuckians surveyed say they are planning at least one road trip of 50 miles or more this summer, with 24% saying they are planning multiple road trips. Another 19% of Kentuckians say they hope to travel but have not yet confirmed their road trip plans, while 35% say they are not planning a road trip at all.

So how do Kentuckians plan to cut their budget so they can keep doing this Great American Road Trip? For Kentucky residents planning summer trips, 37% plan to take fewer trips due to gas prices, while 14% say they plan to take shorter trips. To anticipate higher costs at the pump, 23% say they adjust their budget for accommodations or restaurant meals. However, 26% say gas prices weren’t factored into their summer trip planning at all.

Plan the best travel times

Drivers should expect the longest travel delays ahead of the holiday weekend, particularly on the afternoons of Thursday June 30 and Friday July 1, as commuters leave work early and mix with vacationers. Drivers of major US subways could experience double the commute time compared to a normal commute.

Nationally, travel times are expected to increase by approximately 50% compared to normal. Drivers who will be near major metropolitan areas should be prepared for significant delays. The best advice? Avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Traveling by train, cruise and bus on the rise

With many travel delays on cruises, trains, buses and other modes of transport beyond cars and planes over the past two years, it’s no surprise there’s been an increase of almost 168% of travelers opting for these other modes of transport this Independence Day weekend. . Just over 36,000 Kentuckians are opting to travel by train, cruise, bus or other modes for the upcoming weekend. That compares to 2.4 million nationwide, also an increase of nearly 168% from 2021.

Top destinations include major cities and international favorites

AAA booking data reveals that major cities and international classics are top destinations this Independence Day. AAA data shows flight, car rental, cruise, hotel and tour bookings up 60% over last year for top national Independence Day destinations and 252% for international destinations.

Tips for summer travel

With busy roads and crowded airports, AAA wants to prepare travelers so they can celebrate the 4th of July stress-free.

Independence Day will be the second busiest since 2000 as travel volumes continue to rise with no signs of slowing down. It is important that travelers are prepared and flexible to minimize stress and enjoy the vacation. AAA offers the following tips:

• Have a plan A, B and C. Flights, car rentals, accommodation, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability may be limited, which will impact prices. Last minute deals are unlikely to be found, so it is recommended to look for discounts and rewards. This is also a time when travel agents are a particularly good resource as they may know of an offer that may not be readily available to the public.

◦ Aerial – AAA finds lowest average airfare 14% higher than last year at $201/ticket.

◦ Hotels — Midscale hotel rates increased by approximately 23%, with the lowest average rates being $244/night for AAA-rated hotels.

◦ Car rental — Since last year, the average daily rate for car rentals has steadily increased. With more people travelling, these prices continue to rise due to ongoing supply chain issues coupled with growing demand. While daily car rental rates are down 34% from a year ago, with the lowest average rate standing at $110/day, rates are $40 more/day on average than in 2019.

• BET (Battery-Engine-Tires) on a fault-free trip. AAA expects to respond to more than 446,000 roadside assistance calls over Independence Day weekend nationwide and about 1,600 right here in central Kentucky. Be sure to get a full vehicle inspection before any long trip, but especially for components like a vehicle’s battery, engine, and tires. Even a perfectly good vehicle can run into trouble, so it’s a good idea to pack a well-stocked emergency kit and make sure your AAA membership is up to date so you have roadside assistance just in case.

• Beat the rush. Travel during off-peak hours or days or choose a destination closer to home. Based on AAA booking data, Friday July 1 is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend (June 30-July 4), with Monday July 4 being the lightest . For those hitting the road, the Thursday and Friday before the holidays should be peak days.


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