EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Summer travel is in full swing and Independence Day is no exception.
With Fourth of July weekend around the corner, AAA predicts that 47.9 million people will hit the road or take to the skies. It’s a 3.7% increase from last year, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019.
“The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “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.”
Even with the national average for gas prices topping $5 per gallon, AAA anticipates that car travel volume will break the previous record, with 42 million people planning to drive during the holiday weekend.
AAA says despite the high gas prices, recent issues with air travel and concerns of cancelations and delays could be driving the increase. The share of people traveling by air is forecast to be the lowest since 2011.
“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” Twidale said. “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.”
Independence Day will be the second busiest since 2000, AAA added, as travel volumes continue to climb with no signs of slowing down.
Thursday and Friday are expected to be peak traffic days for those hitting the road, according to AAA, with Friday being the busiest day for air travel.