Record 48.9 Million Americans Hit the Road to Celebrate Independence Day

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A record-breaking 48.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the Fourth of July weekend, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

“More Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year,” a report on AAA’s website states. “The overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1 percent over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday.” 

“For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads,” the report states.

The article notes that AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

The article touts President Donald Trump’s strong economy as a factor in record-breaking travel.

“In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong,” the article states. “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 much-loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel, said in the article. “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.”

The AAA article also lists the Top Ten Fourth of July holiday travel destinations domestically and the Top Five internationally:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. New York, New York
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Maui, Hawaii
  9. Anchorage, Alaska
  10. Chicago, Illinois.

The most popular international destinations include Rome, London, Dublin, Paris, and Vancouver, Canada — “a top departure port for Alaskan cruises.”

AAA also includes information about its role making sure people enjoy the holiday weekend and offers some advice for those traveling on America’s highways and byways:

AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

AAA’s report is 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 forecast can be found here.

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