July 2, 2019–9:14 a.m.
AAA predicts more Americans will travel for this Independence Day than ever before. Nearly 49 million are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year. 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.
“As Independence Day approaches, more Americans are planning to travel, seeking memorable experiences and adventures, said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA- The Auto Club Group. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel.”
By the numbers: 2019 Independence Day travel forecast
Total numbers of travelers:
- National: 48,902 million travelers
- Georgia: 1,476,484 travelers
Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday.
- National: 41.4 million; 4.3% more than last year.
- Georgia: 1,285,643, a 5.3% increase more than last year.
- National: 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
- Georgia: 104,845 Georgians will travel by air, a 5.3% increase over last year.
Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships:
- National: 0.6% increase to 3.55 million passengers
- Georgia: 0.6% increase to 78,350 passengers
Record-level drivers equals record-level delays
For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday, July 3 as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9%. Several major U.S. metros – including Atlanta, GA – expect to experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.
Lower gas prices motivating millions of road trippers
With today’s national average of $2.68, gas prices are 21 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, 16-cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” continued Waiters. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”
Travelers paying more for July 4 car rentals and airfares
Some of the savings travelers are enjoying 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.
Top Independence Day travel destinations
Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas can expect an influx of travelers for the holiday. These are the top destinations in the U.S. this Memorial Day weekend, 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
For those travelers planning an international vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. 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. Travelers still in the planning phase can tune into AAA’s podcast “Well-traveled with AAA” which provides expert insights on the experiences, sights, and sounds of popular destinations and how to make the most of your vacation. Podcast topics include National Parks, Ireland, river According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, 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 rescue nearly 367,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue 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 reminds travelers that it’s not too late to plan an Independence Day trip. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.