Record-Breaking 48.9 Million Americans to Travel this Independence Day

Posted: June 25th, 2019

More Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year. (AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.) Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday.

More than 1.3 million Massachusetts residents will be among those traveling, with close to 1.1 million going by car, according to the AAA report.

“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much-loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs at AAA Northeast. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast-to-coast are eager to travel.”

Independence Day holiday travel, by mode

·         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 take to the skies, 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.

Record-level drivers equals record-level delays

For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday, July 3 as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

Region

Worst Day for Travel

Worst Time for Travel

Delay Multiplier

Atlanta

Friday, July 5

5:00 - 7:00 PM

2.5x

Boston

Friday, July 5

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

3.4x

Chicago

Friday, July 5

1:00 - 3:00 PM

2x

Detroit

Wednesday, July 3

2:00 - 4:00 PM

2x

Houston

Thursday, July 4

1:00 - 3:00 PM

3x

Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 3

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

2.7x

New York

Wednesday, July 3

1:45 - 3:45 PM

3.8x

San Francisco

Wednesday, July 3

1:30 - 2:30 PM

2.5x

Seattle

Thursday, July 4

12:00 - 2:00 PM

3x

Washington, DC

Sunday, July 7

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

2.4x

Top Destinations for Local Travelers

            AAA National names Boston as a top ten summer destination, and AAA Northeast conducted an online survey to see which hot spots will be the most popular this summer. The results are near and far, with those surveyed reporting plans for everything from cross country trips to national park treks, to Rhine River cruises. Top destinations are:

1.      Maine

2.      New York

3.      Orlando

4.      Cape Cod

5.      Canada


AAA to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists

AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared 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.

Methodology:

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.