For the first time this decade, AAA estimates a decline in the number of Americans traveling during the Fourth of July holiday. However, AAA projects 40.45 million Americans will still travel during the July 4th weekend, down 1.3 percent, or nearly 550,000 Americans, from the 41 million who traveled last year.
This is the second consecutive holiday in 2008 where a year-to-year decrease was forecasted. AAA projected a nearly one percent drop in holiday travelers for Memorial Day. The forecast includes U.S. residents traveling 50 miles or more from home.
“While the numbers of travelers are a bit lower than last year’s levels, more than 13 percent of the U.S. population will be on the road this holiday weekend despite record gas prices. Many will be taking advantage of travel bargains that are being offered by hotels hoping to boost last minute business,” said Gail Weinholzer, director of public affairs.
More than 34.2 million Americans (almost 85 percent of travelers) intend to travel by automobile, a 1.2 percent decrease from the 34.6 million people who drove to their destinations last year. Approximately 4.54 million Americans (11 percent of travelers) expect to travel by airplane, a 2.3 percent decrease from the 4.64 million who flew last year. Nearly 1.7 million plan to travel by train, bus or other mode of transportation.
AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, which is based on available rates, reveals that Fourth of July travelers can expect increases in other travel costs such as air fares, car rental rates, and other services that were previously complimentary such as checked baggage fees.