MORE THAN 36 million people will take road trips this July 4 weekend as states lift COVID-19 restrictions, according to travel data company Arrivalist. However, that number is still 11 percent lower than the 41.1 million AAA predicted last year would travel the highways for Independence Day.
Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index, which measures only trips taken by car that are longer than 50 miles, also recently found that Memorial Day road trip activity returned to pre-COVID levels. The company expects the index will cross 100 percent, meaning that twice as many travelers will hit the road compared to an average day in February, during the July 4 weekend.
The firm expects the weekend’s index to reach 113 percent, higher than the previously highest indexed volume in 2020, 85.2 percent over President’s Day weekend.
“In many respects these are unprecedented times, but solid data and reliable models can still provide the certainty that travelers and the travel industry need to adapt to the times,” said Cree Lawson, Arrivalist founder and CEO.
Many experts consider road trips as a leading indicator of the return of the travel industry from the recession caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Arrivalist. The Fourth of July holiday is typically one of the busiest weeks of the year for car travel and this year it is driven by decreased demand for air travel, lower than normal gas prices and the reopening of destinations such as theme parks and other attractions reopening around the country.
“The pent-up demand for travel we’re seeing, coupled with low gas prices, limited flight service and the fact that July 4th falls on a Saturday all indicate that the Independence Day holiday will be the largest road trip event of 2020 so far,” Lawson said.