Summer travel is already in full swing and this Independence Day holiday period will be a busy one as AAA Texas predicts 3.5 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. This will be an increase of 3% over 2021, bringing overall Texas travel volumes less than one percent of those seen in 2019. The biggest surprise – car travel – will set a new record despite historically high gas prices with 3.1 million people hitting the road in Texas. With crowded roads and busy airports, AAA Texas wants to prepare travelers so they can have a stress-free July 4th celebration.
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“Summer travel is in high gear with more Texans than ever expected to travel by car this Independence Day,” said Kent Livesay, Vice President and General Manager, AAA Texas. “Travel demand has been on the rise since the beginning of this year and is not letting up. Texans are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are still ready to take that much needed vacation.”
Despite record gas prices, automobile travel volume will break previous records on a state and national level. Across the U.S., AAA predicts nearly 48 million people will travel for Independence Day. Of those traveling, 88% will do so by car. Just as in Texas, this will also be a new record of automobile travelers across the country for 4th of July with 42 million people driving to their destination. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays may be driving this increase. In fact, the share of people traveling by air will be the lowest since 2011.
This Summer, Travel Stress Free
Independence Day will be the second busiest since 2000, as travel volumes continue to trend upwards with no sign of slowing down. It is important travelers are prepared and flexible to minimize stress and enjoy the holiday. AAA offers the following advice:
- Have a plan A, B and C. Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability may be limited, which will impact pricing. Finding last-minute deals is unlikely so it’s recommended to look for discounts and rewards, usually available through a membership like AAA. This is also another time when travel advisors are a great resource since they may know of a deal that may not be readily available to the public.
- Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than last year coming in at $201/ticket.
- Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23%, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
- Car Rentals— Since last year, the average daily rate for car rentals have continued to increase. With more people traveling, these prices remain on the rise due to continued supply chain issues coupled with growing demand. While daily car rental rates have decreased 34% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $110/day, rates are $40 more/day on average than in 2019.
- B-E-T on a breakdown-free trip. AAA Texas expects to respond to over 21,000 calls for roadside assistance over the Independence Day holiday weekend. Across the country, AAA will respond to more than 446,000 calls. Make sure to get a full vehicle inspection ahead of any long trip but especially for components like a vehicle’s battery, engine and tires. Even a vehicle in top shape can run into an issue so it’s a good idea to pack a well-stocked emergency kit and have roadside assistance just in case.
- Beat the rush. Travel on off-peak times or days or pick a hidden gem closer to home. Based on AAA booking data, Friday, July 1 is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4) with Monday, July 4 being the lightest. For those hitting the road, the Thursday and Friday before the holiday are anticipated to be peak traffic days.
Top Destinations include Big Cities and International Favorites
AAA booking data reveals that big cities and international classics are top destinations this Independence Day. AAA data shows that booking volumes for air, car rentals, cruise, hotel, and tours are up 60% over last year for the top domestic Independence Day destinations and up 252% for international.
Road Trips are King this Independence Day
Drivers should expect the longest travel delays heading into the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1 as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Drivers in major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.
Independence Day Holiday Travel Period
For purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five days from Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.
Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 62 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit AAA.com.