Looking to avoid the holiday crowds? Then plan on staying close to home this Independence Day weekend, because record numbers of Americans will be clogging the nation’s highways and airport security checkpoints.
According to AAA’s just-released forecast, 42.9 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the extended July 4th weekend, between June 30 and July 4. That’s an increase of 1.9 percent over last year’s numbers, and the most since AAA began tracking holiday travel.
Of those traveling, 85 percent will be road-tripping, and 8 percent will be flying.
In addition to a moderately healthy economy, AAA credits the low cost of gas for the expected 1.2 percent increase in car trips. The average price for a gallon of gas now sits at $2.31, 47 cents less than last year.
Airfares are also down year-over-year, with the average roundtrip ticket priced at $207, a 9 percent decrease. Hotel rates are down as well, but only slightly, and rental-car rates are up 9 percent, to $75 a day.
And because the report is sponsored by AAA, there’s even a prediction for roadside-assistance requests: 370,000, mostly for dead batteries, lockouts, and flat tires.
Just in case you needed a few more reasons to celebrate Independence Day by chilling and grilling at home…
Reader Reality Check
What’s your plan for the July 4th weekend?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.