ORLANDO, Fla. — The July 4th holiday weekend will break records this year, according to AAA.
In all, 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home — on the roads, skies, rails and waterways. The figure is 1.25 million more than last year.
"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.
According to AAA's Independence Day travel forecast:
- 44.2 million travelers expected to travel this Independence Day represent 2.9-percent increase over 2016.
- 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
- 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
- 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Gas prices are playing a role in the increased number of travelers this July 4th weekend. The national average gas price is 4 cents cheaper than this same time last year.
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, AAA said.
As for other expenses, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 10 percent lower this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $186, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.
Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14 percent less than Independence Day 2016. Hotel costs are the same as last year, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $185 per night.
According to AAA, the top destinations for summer travel include:
- Orlando, Fla.
- Vancouver, Canada
- Cancun, Mexico
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Anaheim, Calif.
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Las Vegas
- Montego Bay, Jamaica