ORLANDO—More Americans than ever—nearly 49 million—are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year, according to AAA. Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday. For the record 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with today being the worst day on the roads.
In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.
“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much-loved family road trip, and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, in a press release. “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.”
The vast majority of travelers will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year, while 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”
With today’s national average of $2.66 per gallon, gasoline prices are 19 cents less year-over-year and expected to drop even lower into the summer. This is motivating record numbers of travelers to take road trips for the holiday weekend.
“Gas prices are, on average, 17 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.”