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Record-Breaking 2.6 Million Floridians to Travel for Independence Day

48.9 million Americans will travel nationwide; 2 million more than last year's holiday

More Americans than ever recorded by AAA are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year. An estimated 48.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday weekend; 2.6 million of those will be Floridians.

Key Takeaways

  • AAA forecasts the highest travel volume on record - dating back to 2000.
  • The five-day holiday period runs from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.
  • Auto travel will reach record levels after increasing for the sixth consecutive year. Nearly 85 percent of travelers will drive.
  • Air travel will reach record highs after rising a third consecutive year. Eight percent of travelers will fly.
  • Gas prices will be cheaper than last Independence Day.
  • Orlando tops the list of Independence Day travel destinations, booked with AAA.
  • The busiest airport location in America to rent a car will be at the Orlando International Airport. The busiest day will be Wednesday.
    • Click here to view more Key Takeaways from this year's Holiday Travel Forecast

Florida Travel Figures

  • Total Travelers – 2.6 million Floridians; 123,093 (5%) more than last year
  • Auto Travelers – 2.3 million Floridians; 111,856 (5.2%) more than last year
  • Air Travelers – 196,589 Floridians; 10,470 (5.6%) more than last year
  • Other Travelers – 137,027 Floridians; 767 (0.6%) more than last year

National Travel Figures

  • Total Travelers – 48.9 million Americans; 1.9 million (4.1%) more than last year
  • Auto Travelers – 41.4 million Americans; 1.7 million (4.3%) more than last year
  • Air Travelers – 4 million Americans; 199,000 (5.3%) more than last year
  • Other Travelers – 3.5 million Americans; 19,000 (0.6%) more than last year

In addition to lower gas prices than last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to spend their hard-earned money on travel this summer.

"This Independence Day will be a big boom for the travel industry, as a record number of Americans prepare to travel for the holiday," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Florida's attractions, airports, hotels and beaches will see large crowds of both Floridians and those traveling from out of state."

Roadway 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.

"Travel times will nominally increase throughout the week, but Wednesday afternoon will certainly be the worst time to be on the road," Jenkins said. "In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. To avoid congestion leave early, identify alternative routes, and don't drive through major metros between 3 and 7 pm."

Gas Prices

Florida's gas prices have rebounded from 4-month lows. The state average will likely be in the $2.50s for Independence Day. Last year, Florida gas prices averaged $2.73 per gallon on July 4.

Click here to view today's average price

Despite the recent increase, pump prices are significantly lower than earlier this year. The state average was nearly $2.80 in April and $2.60 on Memorial Day.

"Low gas prices are added motivation for Floridians to travel for Independence Day," Jenkins said. "Unfortunately, tensions between the U.S. and Iran led to higher oil prices, which resulted in more expensive gasoline. Regardless, holiday travelers should find pump prices that are well below what they paid last year."

Airfares and Hotels

Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will go toward other travel costs this holiday, which are trending higher. According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day. Meanwhile, mid-range accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.

Car Rentals

Average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily. According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.

Top Independence Day Travel Destinations
Fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 the list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, 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 those travelers planning an international vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada -- a top departure port for Alaskan cruises -- rounding out the top five.

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 can prepare for emergencies by bringing 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.

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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.

About 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 9.9 million members across 11 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 59 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. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.