21 June 2018
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OMAHA, NE (June 21, 2018) – AAA predicts more Americans will travel for this Independence Day than ever before. A record-breaking 46.9 million people will journey 50 miles or more away from home, a 5 percent increase from last year and the most travelers for the holiday since AAA began tracking 18 years ago.
Read the full report here
The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8. For the 39.7 million Americans planning a Fourth of July road trip, Tuesday will be the busiest day. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be twice as long as the normal trip.
“We are already seeing a busy summer travel season and Independence Day will be no exception,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Consumers remain confident in the economy and have additional disposable income to put toward a summer getaway.”
In addition to strong economic variables, the expected increase in travelers this year is aided by Independence Day landing on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday.
By the Numbers: 2018 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast
  • Total Travelers:
    • 46.9 million Americans will travel for Independence Day, 5.3 percent more than last year.
  • Automobiles:
    • 39.7 million will take a road trip – a 5.1 percent increase from last year.
  • Planes:
    • A record-breaking 3.8 million people will travel by air, a 7.9 percent increase and the ninth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships:
    • Travel across these sectors will increase by 5.8 percent to a total of 3.5 million passengers.
Gas Prices Moving Lower into Independence Day
With the national average currently at $2.87 a gallon (reported June 21, 2018), motorists will find the most expensive Independence Day gas prices in 3-4 years.  In Nebraska, the average is eight cents lower at $2.79.  In Iowa, the average is $2.73 a gallon.  Fuel prices have been trending lower during the past few weeks largely due to falling crude oil prices.  OPEC is scheduled to meet this week to discuss production quotas.  If OPEC agrees to increase oil production, crude oil prices may slip further. 
National Average 7/4 Nebraska Average 7/4 Iowa
Average 7/4
2017 $2.23 $2.17 $2.13    
2016 $2.27 $2.26 $2.26    
2015 $2.77 $2.68 $2.68    
2014 $3.66 $3.57 $3.53    
2013 $3.48 $3.46 $3.43    
Fuel price updates, industry commentary, color coded maps showing the highest and lowest prices across the country, and the Fuel Cost Calculator tool, can be found at www.gasprices.AAA.com
Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion over the holiday week on Tuesday, July 3 in the late afternoon – as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Travel times could increase two-fold in the major metros across the U.S., with drivers in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. experiencing the most significant delays.
“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, general manager and vice president - public sector, INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

Travelers Paying Less for Airfare, More for Car Rentals and Hotels
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year.
However, travelers can expect to pay more to rent a car and stay at mid-range hotels this Independence Day. At $66, the average daily cost of a car rental is a slight increase of 2 percent over last year. The average nightly rate at AAA Two Diamond hotels is $147, reflecting an 11 percent increase over last year, while AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, a 2 percent year-over-year increase.
Theme Parks and Europe are Major Draws this Independence Day
This Independence Day, travelers will flock to theme parks in Orlando and southern California, while many others are heading west. Alaska cruises departing from Seattle, Anchorage and Vancouver round out the top five U.S. travel destinations for the holiday. For those venturing overseas, Europe is a major draw, with Rome, London, Dublin and Paris all making the list of top international travel destinations for Independence Day.
Top Domestic Travel Destinations Top International Travel Destinations
  1. Orlando, Florida
  1. Rome, Italy
  1. Anaheim, California
  1. London, England
  1. Seattle, Washington
  1. Dublin, Ireland
  1. Anchorage, Alaska
  1. Vancouver, Canada
  1. Honolulu, Hawaii
  1. Paris, France

Source: AAA’s advance travel bookings

AAA to Rescue More Than 362,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside around the Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. 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.
Download the AAA Mobile App Before Independence Day
Before heading out on a trip for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Travelers who download the app gain access to the following features:
-Request AAA roadside service
-Find the lowest gas prices
-Access exclusive member discounts
-Make travel arrangements
-Find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities
-Review 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants and more.
Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
About the Travel Report
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 2018 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.5 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 58 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small. Learn more at INRIX.com.