Last updated: 11:19 AM ET, Thu June 25 2015

AAA: More Fourth of July Travelers, Higher Holiday Hotel Prices

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | June 25, 2015

AAA: More Fourth of July Travelers, Higher Holiday Hotel Prices

Independence Day may be the celebration of the birth of the United States, but it is also considered one of the busiest traveling periods of the year.

According to AAA, the association projects 41.9 million Americans will journey at least 50 miles from home during the Independence Day holiday travel period, which extends from Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5.

The estimated number of travelers would be the most since 2007 and would be a 0.7 percent increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year. One of the reasons for the perceived increase in travel is the strong employment market, which has led to a rising average income.

Even with gas prices also on the rise recently, they remain below the average from 2014—the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is 88 cents less than the average price this time last year—prompting more Americans to take a trip during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

AAA president Marshall L. Doney released a statement, saying, “This Independence Day, more people will get in their cars, board airplanes, and take buses, trains and cruise ships to celebrate our nation's freedom with friends and family. Students all across the nation are also celebrating freedom from homework, making this an ideal time for a family vacation. Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007.”

Driving is still the most popular means of transportation for the holiday weekend, with almost 85 percent of travelers (35.5 million) hitting the road in order to arrive at their holiday destinations, a 0.7 percent increase from 2014.

The number of people using air travel is also expected to jump to 3.21 million (1.5 percent increase), while those using other modes of transportation—including cruises, trains and buses—are expected to total 3.2 million, a 0.5 percent increase from the previous year.

Travelers will find higher prices when trying to book a hotel.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is six percent higher this year at $145, while Three Diamond hotels will cost nine percent more, averaging $195. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent higher this Independence Day, climbing to $227.

And with so many cars on the road, there's bound to be breakdowns. AAA is also offering roadside service, which they estimate will be needed by 360,000 motorists during the holiday period.

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