AAA: Independence Day Travel to Set Record

AAA forecasts more people will travel this Independence Day than ever before. A record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways, an increase of 1.3 million 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."

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. It 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 as school is out for the year allowing for more flexiblity in plans.

By the Numbers

Travel Expenses

The national average gas price is four cents cheaper than this same time last year and a contributing factor to the increase in travelers. Motorists in North Dakota will likely pay the lowest gas price for the holiday in more than a decade. Today’s statewide average is $2.26, about a penny lower than one year ago and the lowest for this time of year since 2005.

In addition to lower gas prices, travelers can expect to find 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. Daily car rental rates will average 14 percent less while hotel costs are unchanged from last year.

Top Destinations

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:

  To the Rescue

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).

Emergency Expense Reimbursement

AAA provides a benefit called “Car Travel Interruption Protection” for all of its members. Under this benefit, AAA reimburses covered emergency expenses for members who are traveling by car - at least 100 miles away from home - and have a breakdown, accident, or if their vehicle is stolen while en route. Reimbursable expenses are covered up to $600 for Classic members, $1,000 for Plus members, and $1,500 for Premier members. Covered expenses include: meals and lodging, car rental, and transportation home or to their destination within 72 hours.

AAA Resources

AAA mobile app -- Travelers can use the free app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and review nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. -- Find average national, state and local gas prices; research top gas price trends, and use the "Gas Cost Calculator" to determine how much you can expect to spend on gasoline during your next road trip. -- Book a hotel, flight, rental car, or cruise. Find travel ideas, hot cruise and land deals, review top destinations, purchase discounted attraction tickets, and find TripTik, tour books and Maps.

About the Forecast

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.