AAA: Nearly 71 million Americans expected to travel during Independence Day week

A record 60.6 million will drive over Independence Day, up by 2.8 million from last year

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Approximately 70.9 million U.S. travelers are expected to journey 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day holiday, marking a 5 percent increase from 2023 and an 8 percent increase from 2019, according to AAA.

APPROXIMATELY 70.9 MILLION U.S. travelers are expected to journey 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day holiday, according to the latest AAA forecast. For the first time, AAA considered the entire week of July 4th, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday. This year’s projected number of travelers marks a 5 percent increase from 2023 and an 8 percent increase from 2019.

“With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day,” said Paula Twidale, AAA Travel’s senior vice president. “We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019.”

AAA estimated a record 60.6 million people will travel by car over Independence Day week, an increase of 2.8 million from last year. This year’s number also surpasses the 55.3 million who traveled by car over July 4th week in 2019.

AAA car rental partner Hertz reported that Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have the highest rental demand during the holiday week. The busiest pick-up days are expected to be Friday, Saturday, and July 3.

Gas prices are lower than last year’s national average of $3.53, AAA said. Prices are expected to continue decreasing leading up to Independence Day, then stabilize until after Labor Day, similar to last year. However, hurricane season is currently underway and could impact gas prices if a storm disrupts Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers.

AAA projected that 5.74 million people will fly to their July 4th destinations, marking nearly a 7 percent increase from last year and a 12 percent increase from 2019. AAA booking data indicates domestic airfare is 2 percent cheaper this Independence Day week compared to last year, with the average price for a domestic roundtrip ticket at $800.

More than 4.6 million people are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as buses, cruises, and trains, AAA said. This category is experiencing a 9 percent increase compared to last year, but it falls short of the 2019 figure of 4.79 million.

A recent study by WalletHub found that about 75 percent of Americans plan to take road trips this summer, with around 33 percent intending to travel more than 250 miles from home. However, choosing an affordable travel destination is challenging due to higher gas prices, currently averaging over $3.45 per gallon nationwide, and increased accommodation costs.