AAA is estimating 39 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Fourth of July holiday weekend, a 2.5 percent decline from the 40 million who traveled in 2010. This small decrease is being attributed to sustained higher gas prices. However, the Independence Day long weekend continues to be the busiest travel holiday of the year as children are out of school and families head to favorite vacation spots.
“Travelers are being smart with their travel budgets by finding the best deals, eating out less and traveling shorter distances” said Jim Hanni, executive vice president for public & government affairs at AAA. “This is a strong indicator that Americans remain determined to visit friends and family even though gas prices are higher than last year at this time.”
Additional information regarding Fourth of July travel includes:
32.8 million people will hit the road to get to their Fourth of July destination over the long weekend;
Slightly over 3 million leisure travelers will take to the skies over the holiday weekend, up 9 percent from last year;
Gas price averages nationwide are averaging $3.56, down from last month, but up 81 cents from last year at this time;
Average spending is expected to be $807, an increase of 25 percent from last year;
Distance traveled over the upcoming holiday weekend is expected to average 573 miles.
The 2011 Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 - Monday, July 4. AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2011 Fourth of July holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.