AAA is predicting record-setting travel for the July 4 holiday. The association believes 50.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day Weekend, with domestic travel over the long weekend increasing by 2.1 million people compared to 2022. This year’s projection surpasses the previous July 4 weekend record set in 2019 of 49 million travelers.
“We’ve never projected travel numbers this high for Independence Day Weekend,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “What this tells us is that despite inventory being limited and some prices 50% higher, consumers are not cutting back on travel this summer. Many of them heeded our advice and booked early, another sign of strong travel demand.”
This July 4 weekend is expected to set a new record for the number of Americans traveling by car for the holiday. AAA expects 43.2 million people will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4% over 2022 and 4% higher than 2019. This summer, gas prices are well below what they were one year ago. The national average for a gallon of regular was $4.80 on July 4, 2022. Gas prices have remained steady the past couple of months, with the national average hovering around $3.50 to $3.60 a gallon, thanks to the lower cost of oil.
Other modes of transportation are also on the rise this year. AAA expects 3.36 million people will travel by bus, cruise or train over the long weekend, an increase of 24% over last year. While more travelers are turning to these modes this year, the number is not expected to surpass 2019’s total of 3.54 million.
Almost half of consumers (47%) will buy alcoholic beverages. Among those planning to buy alcohol, the top choice is beer (68% plan to purchase for 2023 vs. 62% in 2022), followed by wine (35% vs. 31%), ready-to-drink cocktails (27% vs. 23%) and spirits (27% vs. 23%).