TAMPA — AAA projects 41.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day, the most since 2007 and a 0.7 percent increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5.
“Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, because families can take extended vacations without worrying about rushing their kids back for school,”said Brent Stahlheber Sr., vice president of brand marketing and travel wit AAA — The Auto Club Group. “This Independence Day will see the most travelers since the great recession, which will continue to stimulate the economy and the travel industry as a whole.”
Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting more Americans to take a holiday trip this year. Despite recent seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has helped boost Americans’ disposable income.
“Although some consumers are using their recent savings on gas to pay down debt and save, overall, Americans are planning to travel in record numbers,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA — The Auto Club Group. “Independence Day gas prices are expected to be the lowest in at least five years, which is great news for the nearly 85 percent of travelers who plan to drive.”
Holiday travel forecast
The 2015 Independence Day forecast is expected to mark the highest travel volume for the holiday in eight years, since 2007.
The increase in travelers is driven by rising incomes, a strong employment market, and low gas prices.
Most drivers will likely pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices in five years. The average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Florida was $2.70 as of June 24 — 90 cents lower than the average price for Independence Day last year ($3.60).
More than 84 percent of travelers (35.5 million) will go by automobile, an increase of 0.7 percent from last Independence Day.
Holiday air travel is expected to increase 1.5 percent to 3.2 million leisure travelers.
Other modes of transportation will increase 0.5 percent to 3.2 million — 3,000 fewer passengers than air travel.
Airfares are up six percent compared with 2014
Hotel rates are forecast to be six percent to nine percent higher than 2014
All-American road trips remain popular
Nearly 85 percent of travelers (35.5 million) will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 0.7 percent. Holiday air travel is expected to increase 1.5 percent to 3.21 million leisure travelers. Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 0.5 percent this Independence Day, to 3.2 million.
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicle and check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-222-4357 (1-800-AAA-HELP) to request roadside assistance when needed.
Lowest Independence Day gas prices
Despite recent seasonal increases in the price of gas, travelers continue to benefit from substantially lower prices compared to recent years. Most drivers will likely pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices in four to five years. The average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Florida was $2.70 on June 24 — 90 cents lower than the state average for Independence Day last year ($3.60). The current state average barely exceeds the averages of $2.68 and $2.65 set on July 4, 2010 and 2009 respectively, but this year’s state average could slip below those prices by July 4.
Holiday travel expenses on the rise
Travelers will encounter moderately higher lodging rates and airfares this Independence Day. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is six percent higher this year at $145, while Three Diamond hotels will cost nine percent more, averaging $195. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent higher this Independence Day, climbing to $227.
AAA mobile app
Before setting out on an Independence Day getaway, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA approved and diamond rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. Every AAA approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of one to five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
IHS Global Insight bases AAA’s projections on economic forecasting and research. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.