The Fourth of July holiday, also known as Independence Day, was established shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is one of only 11 federal holidays, a list that was just expanded by the addition of Juneteenth. July Fourth sits in the center of the summer calendar, which is bracketed on one end by Memorial Day and on the other by Labor Day. Because it is often adjacent to a weekend, it has become one of America’s three-day weekends.
AAA looked at past Fourth of July holiday travel patterns to find what Americans’ travel habits would be this year. It found that 47.7 million Americans plan to travel between July 1 and July 5. This is second only to 2019 and 40% higher than last year, when travel was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel commented: “Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half.”
AAA breaks travel down by category. A total of 43.6 million people will travel more than 50 miles from their homes by car. A total of 3.5 million will travel by air. Air travel will actually surge 164%, almost certainly because carriers have lifted COVID-19-related restrictions.
The top destinations, according to the research, will be where theme parks are located. The AAA list is led by Orlando, Florida, followed by Anaheim, California. Las Vegas, the nation’s gambling capital, is also on the list. So are two of the nation’s three largest cities — New York and Chicago. Many people who travel will take an unusually long trip. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, makes the top 10 list as well.