More Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans for an Independence Day getaway this year. 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.
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 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, AAA Travel. “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.”
Independence Day holiday travel, by mode
- Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 41.4 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year.
- Planes: 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6% to 3.55 million passengers.
Top Independence Day travel destinations
Based on advance AAA Travel bookings, Hawaii has two of the top 10 July Fourth destinations for American travelers – the only state in the U.S. with more than one. The top destinations nationally are:
- Orlando, Florida
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Anaheim, California
- New York, New York
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Maui, Hawaii
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Chicago, Illinois
Travelers will pay lower gas prices than in 2018
Travelers throughout the islands will pay slightly lower gas prices than at this time last year, with the statewide average of $3.64 about nine cents lower per gallon than a year ago. Nationally, the average price is $2.66 a gallon for regular unleaded – nearly 20 cents lower than this time last year.
Travelers paying more for July 4 car rentals and airfares
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10 percent more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5 percent higher than last year, at $69 daily. Meanwhile, midrange accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
Editors: For infographics for your use and more information on the forecast, visit AAA.com/July4.