Independence Day travel expected to be the most ever

AAA forecasts more Americans will travel this Independence Day than ever before. A record-breaking 44.2 million Americans (952,881 from Wisconsin) will take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways; an increase of 2.9 percent (3.4 percent in Wisconsin) from last year’s holiday.

“This Independence Day will be historic,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Traveler numbers are up and prices are down, adding to what has already been a bustling summer travel season.

“Travel bookings at The Auto Club Group are up 7.5 percent in Wisconsin compared to this time last year. The biggest factors driving growth are low gas prices, strong employment, rising incomes, and higher consumer confidence; but overall Americans just love to travel, and want to do something fun for this mid-summer tradition.”

Most-Traveled Summer Holiday

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. Independence Day is usually the most-traveled of the “big 3” summer holidays. While Memorial and Labor Day holidays often attract a similar number of total travelers, Independence Day commonly attracts 12-13 percent more.

“More people travel for Independence Day, because it falls in the middle of summer when school is out,” Evans said. “Families can easily plan extended vacations for this holiday without worrying about school calendars.”

Gas Prices to Boost Travel Numbers

Gas prices remain slightly below year-ago levels, another factor driving the increase in travelers this Independence Day. During last year’s holiday, gas prices averaged $2.27 nationwide and $2.33 in Wisconsin.

Low oil prices and increased production have kept gas prices competitive with last summer’s rates, which were the lowest since 2004.

By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast

  • 44.2 million Americans are expected to travel → 2.9% more than last year.
    • 952,881 Wisconsinites are expected to travel → 3.4% more than last year.
  • 37.5 million Americans will drive → 2.9% more than last year.
    • 839,084 million Wisconsinites will drive → 3.5% more than last year.
  • 3.4 million Americans will fly → 4.6% more than last year.
    • 42,856 Wisconsinites will fly → 3.6% more than last year
  • 3.3 million Americans will take other modes of transportation → 1.4% more than last year.
    • 70,942 Wisconsinites will take other modes of transportation → 2.4% more than last year
  • Prices are on par or lower than last year
    • Airfares will average $186 → 10% less than last year.
    • Daily car rental rates will average $65 → 14% less than last year.
    • Hotel prices will average $185 → the same as last year.

Airfares and Car Rental Rates Swing Lower this Independence Day

Travelers can expect lower prices for airfares, car rentals and hotels this Independence Day weekend. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, 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. Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14 percent less than last Independence Day. Hotel costs are the same as last year, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $185 per night.

AAA to Rescue More Than 338,000 Motorists this Independence Day

AAA expects to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. AAA members get a free 24-point inspection at approved auto repair facilities (learn more).

Orlando Remains Top Destination for Summer Travel

With new attractions debuting at popular theme parks, Orlando claims the number one spot on the list of most-visited locales for 2017 summer travel based on AAA’s summer travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Vancouver, Canada
  3. Cancun, Mexico
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. Anaheim, California
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Las Vegas, Nevada
  10. Montego Bay, Jamaica
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