by Donald Wood
Last updated: 9:41 AM ET, Tue June 22, 2021
A new study found that more than 47.7 million Americans will travel for the Independence Day holiday travel period.
The survey from AAA Travel expects travel volumes to approach pre-pandemic levels this holiday season, with just 2.5 percent fewer Americans expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019.
The 2021 forecast represents an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to last year, when total travel fell to 34.2 million, and would become the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019.
Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, more than 91 percent of respondents said they would be traveling via car during the holiday period, with 43.6 million Americans taking to the road, the highest on record for this holiday and five percent more than the previous record set in 2019.
"Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they've deferred for the last year-and-a-half," AAA Travel senior vice president Paula Twidale said. "We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow."
The study also found that 3.5 million people are planning to fly, as air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels and increase 164 percent compared to last year.
AAA Travel booking data also indicate a strong recovery for summer, with the top Independence Day travel destinations including Orlando, Anaheim, Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Boston and Kahului, Maui.
In a separate report, leading travel data company Arrivalist predicts that Americans will take 42.9 million road trips over the Fourth of July weekend this year, an increase of 25 percent compared to last year.
The Arrivalist data shows that travel is expected to exceed pre-COVID levels by 3.8 percent compared to 2019 road trip activity.
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