It’s crowded on the nation’s roads this weekend and you can expect more of the same next week as a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans travel for the July 4th holiday. Most of them by road.
Record-Breaking 4th of July Travel
The American Automobile Association says nearly 47 million people will travel 50 miles or more away from home this year, up more than 5 percent compared to 2017. It’s also the highest number since AAA started tracking 18 years ago.
Of those travelers, 39.7 million will be hitting the road. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts Tuesday will be the busiest day on the roads and that travel times in the most congested U.S. could be twice as long than the normal trip.
“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, 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.”
AAA says the record-setting travel is thanks in part to a strong economy. Also since Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, travelers can take a trip the weekend before or after the holiday.
By the Numbers: 2018 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast
- Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 39.7 million – will hit the road this Independence Day, 5.1 percent more than last year.
- Planes: A record-breaking 3.8 million people will travel by air, a 7.9 percent increase and the ninth year of consecutive air travel volume increases .
- Trains, Buses, and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 5.8 percent to a total of 3.5 million passengers.
Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday
The worst time to travel will be late afternoon Tuesday, July 3, according to INRIX. Travel times could increase two-fold in the major metros across the U.S., with drivers in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. experiencing the most significant delays.
“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, general manager and vice president – public sector, INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”
Gas Prices Starting to Stabilize Heading into Independence Day
There is good news in terms of gas prices. You’ve likely noticed them start to fall since the 2018 high of $2.97 set over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the national gas price has dropped nine cents to $2.88 (as of June 20), which is 59 cents more than one year ago.
Photo Credit: AAA