AAA: This Independence Day will be Historic, More Americans to Travel than Ever Before

44.2 Million People Expected to Travel Independence Day Weekend

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (June 22, 2017) –  A record-breaking  44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home to honor the red, white and blue over the 4th of July weekend, taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways .  With 1.25 million more travelers than last year, 2017 will be marked as the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend ever. The Commonwealth will break records as well with 1.2 million Virginians traveling this year for the holiday. This would be the highest predicted number in over 16 years, with the majority traveling by automobile.     

“Combined strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, this Independence Day weekend,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “With a historic 44.2 million Americans traveling to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, it adds to an already bustling summer travel season.”

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4.

By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast

  • Overall, 44.2 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.
  • 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
  • 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
  • 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.


By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast for Virginia

  • Highest recorded number of travelers this Fourth of July with 1.2 million predicted to travel, a 3.1 percent increase from last year. 
  • 1 million Virginians will drive to their destinations which is a historical record for the state, a 3.2 percent increase from 2016.
  • A little over 92 thousand people in the Commonwealth are taking to the skies this Independence Day, largest transportation growth with a 4.5 percent increase from the year before.
  • More than 67 thousand travelers, an increase of .08 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.

Gas prices cheaper than one year ago
The national average gas price is four cents cheaper than this same time last year and a contributing factor to the increase in travelers on the roads this Independence Day. With today’s national average price for a gallon of gas at $2.28, prices remain historically low for the summer travel season. However, consumers may see prices increase, albeit by pennies, closer to the holiday weekend, similar to the Memorial Day gas price trend.

Virginia continues to be in the top ten states to have the least expensive gas just in time to celebrate this country’s independence. Currently, the average price for gas in Virginia is 2.05 which are five cents less than last week, nine cents less than last month and 10 less than last year, a welcome addition to the celebrations.

Airfares and car rental rates lower this Independence Day
Travelers can expect 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, with an average round trip ticket landing at $186. Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14 percent less than last Independence Day. Hotel costs are the same as last year, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $185 per night.

AAA to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day
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.

Orlando remains top destination for summer travel
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:


  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Vancouver, Canada
  3. Cancun, Mexico
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. Anaheim, California
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Las Vegas, Nevada
  10. Montego Bay, Jamaica

To help travelers plan their trips to a top 10 destination, AAA’s team of anonymous hotel and restaurant inspectors recently selected a few of their favorite places to stay and dine.

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

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. 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, budget and services.

About the travel 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.

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 and follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at