This Independence Day, 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. 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% increase over 2016.
- 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9% over last year.
- 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6% over last year.
- 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4% from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Gas Prices Cheaper Than One Year Ago
The national average gas price is 4 cents cheaper than this same time last year, and is a contributing factor to the increase in travelers on the roads this Independence Day. 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.
More People Will Drive, Fly and Use Other Modes of Travel
The vast majority of travelers—37.5 million Americans—will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 2.9% over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 4.6% 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%, to 3.27 million travelers.
Airfares and Car Rental Rates Lower This Independence Day
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% lower this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $186. Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14% 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.
AAA to Rescue More Than 338,000 Motorists This Independence Day
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.
Orlando Remains Top Destination for Summer Travel
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
To help travelers plan their trips to a top 10 destination, AAA’s team of anonymous hotel and restaurant inspectors recently selected a few of their favorite places to stay and dine.