The AAA predicts a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home for the Independence Day holiday, an increase of more than 5% compared with last year’s prediction and the highest number since AAA started tracking travel 18 years ago.
For the 39.7 million Americans planning to drive to their Fourth of July destinations, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested U.S. cities could be twice as long as the normal trip and said July 3 would be the busiest travel day.
“This Independence Day will be one for the record books, as more Americans take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways than ever before,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing.
“Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season.”
Because the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday, AAA says travelers will have had more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as beginning July 3 and running through July 8.
In addition to traveling by car, AAA says a record-breaking 3.8 million people plan to travel by plane this Fourth of July, a 7.9% increase from last year and the ninth consecutive year of air travel volume increases.
AAA also says 3.5 million people have Independence Day plans that involve travel through trains, buses or cruise ships.
Drivers who traveled July 3 were to expect the worst congestion in the late afternoon, according to INRIX, specifically in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.
“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, INRIX’s general manager and vice president for public sector.