AAA Predicts Drop in July 4 Holiday Travel

Independence DayAAA Travel projects 40.8 million Americans will travel this Independence Day, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 41.1 million people who traveled last year. The reason for this decline is due to a shorter holiday period. Independence Day, which falls on a Thursday this year, makes it a five-day holiday. In 2012, it fell on a Wednesday making it a six-day holiday. The Independence Day Holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.

“Independence Day is typically the busiest holiday of the summer travel season with six million more Americans traveling than Memorial Day just two months ago. The Fourth of July benefits from the fact that all schools across the nation are out of session, making it truly a time for family fun,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet.

The 13-year average travel volume for this holiday is 38.9 million. In 2007, the decade-high travel volume occurred. That year, Independence Day landed on a Wednesday and 42.3 million Americans traveled.
July 3 and July 7 will be the busiest travel days this holiday period. The majority of travelers, 32 percent, will depart on July 3 and the majority, 38 percent, will return on July 7.

Although automobile travel has slightly declined this year, it still remains the dominant mode of transportation. 34.4 million people, 84 percent will travel by automobile, a decrease of 0.7 percent from 34.7 million last year. Gas prices, although 10 cents higher than last year’s national average price, are not a major factor in the travel decisions this holiday. Air travel is expected to increase slightly to 3.07 million from 3.06 million in 2012. The remaining eight percent of these travelers are expected to travel by other modes (rail, bus, and watercraft.)

The average traveler is expected to travel a round-trip distance of 613 miles, compared to last year’s average of 723 average. This decline is due to the shorter holiday period. These travelers are expected to spend an average of $747 of $749 last year. The bulk of their spending will be on transportation, with the remaining on food, beverage and lodging. Hotel rates, car rentals and airfares are expected to rise this year.

AAA is North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization. Since 1902, AAA has provided more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. For more information on AAA, visit www.aaa.com.

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