by Donald Wood
Last updated: 1:59 PM ET, Tue June 21, 2022
AAA Travel predicted that 47.9 million people would travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend.
The prediction for the 2022 holiday travel period would mark an increase of 3.7 percent over last year and bring travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019.
The data also shows that despite rising gas prices, 42 million people are expected to drive to their destinations, a new record if it comes to fruition. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays may be causing the increase.
"The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear," AAA Travel senior vice president Paula Twidale said. "Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it's not tapering off. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much needed vacation."
Independence Day is shaping up to be the second busiest since 2000, as travel volumes continue to trend upwards along with prices. AAA Travel's survey fund airfare is up 14 percent, mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23 percent and car rental rates are $40 more per day on average compared to pre-pandemic years.
As for the busiest days to travel, data shows July 1 is shaping up to be the most congested for air travel, while the Thursday and Friday before the holiday are anticipated to be peak traffic days for those driving.
"Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying," Twidale continued. "But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn't mean you have to abandon your vacation plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent who can help plan for the unexpected - like a flight cancelation. They are your best advocate."
AAA Travel also broke down 2022's most popular domestic and international travel destinations. In the United States, Orlando, Seattle, New York, Anaheim, Anchorage, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Denver and Chicago round out the top 10.
As for international destinations, Vancouver, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Dublin, Calgary, Punta Cana, Cancun and Nassau are considered the most popular this summer.
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