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This is the highest number recorded by AAA since it began tracking holiday travel in 2000. This year’s number of Independence Day travelers is expected to rise by 4.1 percent from last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other holiday getaways.
The number of Americans who will travel by automobile is also expected to reach a record-breaking 41.4 million. With such a high number of people travelling by road, the INRX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts that drivers could face heavy delays reaching as much as four times a normal commute.
The INRX expects Wednesday, July 3 to be the worst day on the road. In some cases, Friday, July 5 is also expected to have severe delays.
Among some of the worst delays are an anticipated 3.8-hour delay multiplier in New York, 3.4-hour delay multiplier in Boston, a 3-hour delay multiplier in Seattle and Houston, a 2.7-hour delay multiplier in Los Angeles and a 2.5-hour delay multiplier in Atlanta and San Francisco.
AAA also said it expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists over the holiday.
One of the major explanations for this year’s July 4 travel surge is lower gas prices. Average gas prices are marked at $2.66, down 19 cents from this time last year.
“Gas prices are, on average, 17 cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”
The broader economic explanations do not stop at gas prices, however. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.
In addition to Americans traveling by road, nearly 3.96 million people will take to the skies. AAA reports this as the highest number on record, and up 5.3 percent from last year. Another 3.55 million Americans will travel by train, bus or cruise ship, up by 0.6 percent.
Here are this year's top 10 travel destinations for July 4, based on data from AAA Travel bookings.
- Orlando, Florida
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Anaheim, California
- New York, New York
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Maui, Hawaii
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Chicago, Illinois