Bellevue, Wash. (June 25, 2019) – Nearly 49 million Americans will honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway, a 4.1% increase from last year and the most AAA has ever recorded since tracking began in 2000. Seattle is the third most popular place on AAA’s list of Top Destinations. More visitors create more traffic issues. INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays up to four times their usual length, with Wednesday July 3 being the worst day on the roads. Lower gas prices, a low unemployment rate and strong consumer spending are encouraging more people to invest their hard-earned money in summer travel.
By the numbers: 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast
· Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 41.4 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year.
· Planes: 3.96 million people will travel by air, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
· Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6% to 3.55 million passengers.
Lower gas prices motivating millions of road trippers
Gas prices have steadily dropped to a national average of $2.68, 17 cents less year-over-year and are expected to head even lower into the summer. Average prices around the Pacific Northwest are also dropping; $3.36 in Washington (7 cents lower than last year); $3.23 in Oregon (down 7 cents from last year); Idaho $3.05 (13 cents below last year). With prices expected to keep decreasing this summer, travelers are motivated to take road trips in record numbers.
Record number of drivers equals record-level delays
For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount traffic congestion on Wednesday, July 3 as commuters and holiday travelers share our roadways. In Seattle, delays of up to three times the normal commute length are anticipated on the July 4 holiday, between noon and 2 p.m.
Top Independence Day travel destinations
Seattle ranks third on the most popular destinations list, sandwiched between fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando, Honolulu, Las Vegas and Anaheim, California.
The top 10 list for American Independence Day travelers are based on advance AAA Travel bookings:
1. Orlando, Florida
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
3. Seattle, Washington
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
5. Anaheim, California
6. New York, New York
7. Boston, Massachusetts
8. Maui, Hawaii
9. Anchorage, Alaska
10. Chicago, Illinois
For travelers planning an international July 4 vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular places this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada rounding out the top five.
Travelers pay more for July 4 car rentals and airfares
Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will shift to other costs this holiday. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher, at $69 daily. Meanwhile, midrange accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.
AAA to rescue nearly 367,000 drivers
AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 drivers at the roadside this Independence Day holiday; about 7,000 of those calls will be placed in Washington and Northern Idaho. Engine trouble, jump starts and lockouts are the top reasons AAA Washington members will call for service. AAA recommends drivers take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility now to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Before hitting the road, drivers need to prepare for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.
AAA reminds travelers that it’s not too late to plan an Independence Day trip. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
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.
About AAA Washington: AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 1,190,000 members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s stores in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.