Consistent with years past, most Americans traveling for July 4 holiday will drive to their destination, according to AAA. That’s a 4.1 percent increase.

THE BOOMING U.S. economy keeps encouraging Americans to travel, and this July 4 as they celebrate the country’s independence, they will again set travel records, according to AAA.

The association forecasts more than 48.9 million Americans will take trips this year, an increase of 4.1 percent or nearly 2 million people over last year’s holiday.

Like last year and years prior, most of those travelers, 41.4 million, will drive. And, this year, those drivers will pay less at the pump. The average cost of gasoline is $2.68 a gallon, a drop of 21 cents compared to last year.

“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,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”

Along with the lower gas prices, travelers this year are motivated by the overall economy, including low unemployment and rising disposable income fueling strong consumer spending.

“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,” said AAA Travel Vice President Paula Twidale.

The use of other forms of travel also is expected to increase this year. According to AAA, 3.96 million people will fly, a 5.3 percent increase. Also, 3.55 million will travel by train, bus or cruise ship, a 0.6 percent increase over last year. The average rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels is expected to be around $153 a night, while AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels are charging around $189.

AAA Travel’s top 10 Independence Day destinations are:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. New York, New York
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Maui, Hawaii
  9. Anchorage, Alaska
  10. Chicago, Illinois