AAA: Nearly 48M Americans expected to travel for Fourth of July weekend

Nearly 48 million Americans are expected to hit the road and take to the skies during the Fourth of July weekend, representing a 40% increase compared with 2020, the American Automobile Association confirmed.

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Specifically, AAA estimated that the five-day holiday weekend, running from July 1-5, could yield the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019′s record-setting 48.9 million travelers and well above the 34.2 million who struck out in 2020.

AAA is a nonprofit federation of North American motor clubs with more than 60 million members across the United States and Canada.

“We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow,” AAA Senior Vice President Paula Twidale said in a prepared statement.

And despite increasing prices at the pump, road trips are expected to dominate 2021 Independence Day travel with more than 91% of holiday travelers, or roughly 43.6 million people, hitting the road. That figure represents a 5% increase compared to the record number of road trips recorded for the five-day weekend in 2019, AAA stated.

“Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee told KMGH.

“Though prices will remain above $3 a gallon, travelers are likely to look for more free activities or eat out less, but still take their vacations as planned,” she added.

Of course, gas prices are not the only staple travelers can expect to pay more for this Independence Day.

According to AAA, mid-range hotel rates have increased between 32% and 35% nationwide, whole daily car rental rates have increased 86% compared with Fourth of July 2020, KMGH reported.

Meanwhile, an estimated 3.5 million people are expected to fly to their Fourth of July destinations, representing only about 90% of pre-pandemic volume, but 164% more than those who flew one year ago.

Another 620,000 Americans are expected to travel by bus, train or cruise ship during the holiday weekend, or roughly 72% more than did so in 2020.

According to AAA, the following 10 cities represent the top travel destinations for the 2021 Fourth of July travel weekend:

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Anaheim, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • New York, New York
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Kahului, Maui, Hawaii