According to AAA, nearly 49 million Americans are making plans for a Fourth of July getaway this year — the highest number recorded by the company in 9 years.
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 the holiday.
For the 41.4 million Americans who will travel by car, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads.
In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.
“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel. “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.”
Lower gas prices motivating millions of road trippers
With today’s national average of $2.66, gas prices are 19 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, 17 cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”:
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 holiday, with Vancouver, Canada — a top departure port for Alaskan cruises — rounding out the top five.