AAA predicts record travel for July 4th holiday

June 21, 2018 - 8:14 am
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(KJCE) -- Planning a getaway for Independence Day this year? You're not alone.

AAA says 3.4 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more away from home for the July 4th holiday. It's a 5.7 percent increase over last year and the highest number since AAA started tracking holiday travel 18 years ago.

Nationwide, AAA says nearly 47 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more, up 5.3 percent from 2017.

"This Independence Day will bring record-breaking travel volume, as more Texans take to the roads, skies, rails and waterways than ever before," said Kent Livesay with AAA Texas. "A strong economy is allowing for consumers to take advantage of more opportunities to travel this holiday, contributing to an already busy summer travel season."

In addition to strong economic variables, the expected increase in travelers this year is helped by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday. The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.

For the 39.7 million Americans planning a Fourth of July road trip, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be twice as long than the normal trip, with Tuesday being the busiest day.

"With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros," says Scott Sedlik with 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 have slowly but steadily started to fall since the 2018 high of $2.97 set over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the national gas price has dropped five cents to $2.92 (as of June 12), which is 57 cents more than one year ago. However, the higher prices are having little effect on travelers this Independence Day, with record number of travelers still planning to hit the road this year.

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