Improved consumer confidence and a slight easing of gas prices are expected to keep Americans traveling in projected record-high numbers this July 4 holiday, according to AAA.
Research conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America projects that 39.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this holiday, up 3.4% from the 38.2 million who traveled last year.
AAA is estimating that about 34.4 million travelers, or 87%, will go by motor vehicle, a 3% increase from the 33.3 million who drove a year ago. Another 4.6 million, or 12%, plan to travel by plane, up 4.5% from the 4.4 million that flew during the 2003 July 4 holiday. The remaining 400,000 projected vacationers, 1%, will go by train, bus or other mode of transportation, about even with a year ago.
“Americans’ strong desire to travel will overcome the highest-ever July 4 gas prices and increased airfares, producing potentially record travel this holiday weekend,” said Karen Lefler, director of Travel Services, AAA Minnesota/Iowa. “The recent dip in gas prices – the national average is down about 10 cents from the record it hit over the Memorial Day holiday – will help keep gasoline a relatively small part of most vacation costs.”
The greatest number of July 4 auto travelers will originate in the Southeast with 8.7 million, followed by the West, 8.5 million; Midwest, 6.7 million; Northeast, 5.6 million; and Great Lakes, 4.9 million.
The West is expected to produce the largest number of air travelers with 1.7 million, followed by the Midwest with 900,000; Southeast, 800,000; Northeast, 600,000; and Great Lakes, 600,000.