VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., (June 27, 2016) – AAA projects nearly 43 million Americans will travel this Independence Day weekend. This represents the highest Fourth of July travel volume on record and five million more travelers than this past Memorial Day weekend. The holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4. Across the Commonwealth, almost 1.2 million will head out to celebrate our nations birthday, with 87 percent of those travelers hitting the road in the family car.
“Spurred by the lowest gas prices since 2005, more people than ever are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “Whether they’re traveling by car, plane, train, or cruise ship, it will be exciting to see so many Americans celebrating our nation’s freedom with their friends and family over the long holiday weekend.”
U.S. drivers have saved about $20 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, which has made travel more affordable than in recent years. A more confident consumer and rising economic activity also are offsetting a cooling labor market to help boost holiday travel.
“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” continued Blumling. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before.”
Low gas prices driving increase in auto travel this Independence Day
Eighty-four percent of holiday travelers – more than 36 million people – will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 1.2 percent over last year. In Virginia, eighty-seven percent of travelers will be heading out by car, which is a 1.4 percent gain from last year.
Air travel is expected to increase 2.2 percent over last year, with 3.3 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day. In the Commonwealth, a modest one percent increase from last year’s numbers is expected.
Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase two percent to 3.3 million travelers. Most of those travelers are expected to fill cruise cabins and AAA’s holiday cruise bookings are 35 percent higher than last Independence Day.
Drivers to pay lowest Independence Day gas prices in more than a decade
Low gas prices are motivating millions of Americans to travel this Independence Day. Despite recent seasonal increases, gasoline prices remain well below recent years. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.31, which is .47 cents less than one year ago. The price for a gallon of regular gas in Virginia is 2.13 which is .45 cents less than a one year ago. Hampton Roads price for gas is 2.10, making it .43 cents less than a year ago. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices since 2005.
Airfares and hotel rates lower than last Independence Day
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be nine percent less this Independence Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $207. Hotel costs have fallen slightly compared to last Independence Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $185, while a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $144 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $75, six percent more than last year.
More than 370,000 Independence Day motorists to request roadside assistance
AAA expects to rescue more than 370,000 motorists during the Independence Day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a road trip. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
Download the AAA Mobile app before an Independence Day getaway
Before setting out for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the 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 more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-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 Global Insight 2016 Independence Day holiday travel forecast can be found here.
As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia