If you’re taking a trip from Darien for this year’s stretched-out Independence Day weekend from Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4, you’ll have more company across the U.S., the American Automobile Association predicts.
“A record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home, taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways to honor the red, white and blue,” the AAA says in its annual travel forecast for the July Fourth holiday.
Travel costs are lower and people have more money this year than in recent years.
— Darienite.com editor’s note: This is an (unpaid) announcement from AAA. It’s partly a pitch for AAA and its products (especially toward the bottom), but we see no harm and some good in publicizing them, especially their advice about checking your car before you drive off, so why not? We’ve also included infographics from WalletHub.com.
With 1.25 million more travelers than last year, 2017 will be marked as the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend ever.
“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing.
“A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”
The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4.
By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast
- Overall, 44.2 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.
- 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
- 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
- 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Gas Cheaper Than Last Year
The national average gas price is four cents cheaper than this same time last year and a contributing factor to the increase in travelers.
With today’s national average price for a gallon of gas at $2.28, prices remain historically low for the summer travel season.
However, consumers may see prices increase, albeit by pennies, closer to the holiday weekend, similar to the Memorial Day gas price trend.
Mostly Road Travel
The vast majority of travelers—37.5 million Americans—will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
Air travel is expected to increase 4.6 percent over last year, with 3.44 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day.
Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 1.4 percent, to 3.27 million travelers.
Airfares, Car Rental Costs Lower, But Not Hotels
Travelers can expect lower prices for airfares and car rentals this Independence Day weekend. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 10 percent lower this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $186.
Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14 percent less than last Independence Day. Hotel costs are the same as last year, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $185 per night.
More Breakdowns on the Road: How to Prevent Them
AAA expects to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
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.
With new attractions debuting at popular theme parks, Orlando claims the number one spot on the list of most-visited locales for 2017 summer travel based on AAA’s summer travel bookings:
- Orlando, Florida
- Vancouver, Canada
- Cancun, Mexico
- Seattle, Washington
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Anaheim, California
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
The AAA Mobile App
Before setting out for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis.
Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities, budget and services.
About the travel forecast
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays.
AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.