47 Million Americans Will Travel on July 4th Weekend

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A robust economy and gasoline prices that have reversed their increase will help boost travel over the July 4th holiday by nearly million people. The number is 5% higher than last year.

According to AAA research:

A record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday, an increase of more than 5 percent compared with last year and the highest number since AAA started tracking 18 years ago.

The holiday period runs from July 3 through July 8.

The rise in traffic will cause substantial delays around major cities. Research firm INRIX gave the AAA numbers, which show travel times around major cities could double as people drive late on July 3rd. In most cities, the worst time to travel will be between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. that day.

The cities where travel time will increase the most include New York, where people can expect times that are 2.3 higher than in normal traffic. In Washington, D.C., the expected bump will be 2.1 times. In Los Angeles, the increase will be by 2.0 times. In the seven other major cities, the increase will be at or over 1.6 times.

Worst Days/Times to Travel
Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
San Francisco, CA Tuesday, July 3 3:00 – 6:00 PM 1.7x
Seattle, WA Tuesday, July 3 3:00 – 6:00 PM 1.8x
Detroit, MI Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Los Angeles, CA Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 5:30 PM 2x
Boston, MA Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x
New York, NY Tuesday, July 3 3:30 – 6:30 PM 2.3x
Atlanta, GA Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.6x
Chicago, IL Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 1.7x
Washington, DC Tuesday, July 3 4:00 – 6:00 PM 2.1x
Houston, TX Tuesday, July 3 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.8x
Source: INRIX

Most travel will be by car, which will include 39.7 million travelers, up 5.1% from last year. Air travel will increase 7.9% to 3.8 million. Travel by trains, buses and cruise ships will increase by 5.8% to 3.5 million travelers.

The AAA Fuel Gauge shows gas prices have dropped from a month ago, down from $2.93 to $2.87. While the decline is small, many drivers had worried that the rapid rise over the past year might continue.

The data also show a virtuous circle. As the economy causes more people to have the income to travel, travel puts money back into certain parts of the economy. This will contribute, although very modestly, to third-quarter gross domestic product.

Finally, where people plan to travel most:

Top Domestic Travel Destinations Top International Travel Destinations
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Rome, Italy
  • Anaheim, California
  • London, England
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Paris, France

Source: AAA’s advance travel bookings