AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel on July 4 |


Summer travel is already in full swing, and Independence Day will be no exception, as AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend (June 30 to July 4). This is a 3.7% increase from 2021, bringing travel volumes just below those seen in 2019. The biggest surprise – car travel – will set a new record despite historically high gas prices with 42 million people hitting the road. With busy roads and crowded airports, AAA wants to prepare travelers so they can celebrate the 4th of July stress-free.

“The volume of travelers we expect to see on Independence Day is a sure sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Earlier this year we started to see travel demand increase and it is not decreasing. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to keep taking that much-needed vacation.

The volume of car travel, even with national average gasoline prices approaching the $5 mark, will break previous records as 42 million people choose to drive this Independence Day. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns about cancellations and delays could be behind this increase. In fact, the share of people traveling by plane will be the lowest since 2011.

“Travelling by car offers a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given recent challenges with flying,” Twidale continued. “But not all destinations are accessible by car, which doesn’t mean you have to give up on your holiday plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent who can help you plan for the unexpected, like a flight cancellation. They are your best advocate.

This summer, travel without stress

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’s recommended to look for discounts and rewards, usually available through a membership like AAA. This is also another time when travel agents are a great resource as they may know of an offer that may not be readily available to the public.

Air: AAA finds the lowest average airfare is 14% higher than last year at $201/ticket.

Hotels: Midscale hotel rates have 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.

BETTING on a trouble-free journey:

AAA expects to respond to more than 446,000 roadside assistance calls over Independence Day weekend. Be sure to get a full vehicle inspection before any long trip, but especially for components like a vehicle’s battery, engine and tires (BET). Even a perfectly good vehicle can run into a problem, so it’s a good idea to pack a well-stocked emergency kit and have roadside assistance just in case.

Defeat the rush:

Travel during off-peak hours or days or choose a hidden gem 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.

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.

Road trips are king this Independence Day

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 mingle with vacationers. Drivers of major US subways could experience double the commute time compared to a normal commute.

“Even with record gas prices, travelers are still eager to hit the road this summer. We expect travel times nationwide to increase by approximately 50% from normal. Drivers in major metropolitan areas should be prepared for much greater delays,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where traffic jams will build up can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Remember – Be kind and patient

For those traveling this Independence Day, it’s important to keep safety for yourself and others in mind. It’s easy to lose patience, but remember that everyone has a common goal: to start their summer vacation safely.

Travel forecasts are reported in person-trips. In particular, AAA and S&P Global Market Intelligence forecast the total volume of holiday travel in the United States and the expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report has been prepared for the week of May 23, 2022. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five days from Thursday, June 30 to Monday July 4th. the duration of the holidays is consistent with previous holiday periods.


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