AAA today projected the number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday weekend will increase 17.1 percent from 2009, with approximately 34.9 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 29.8 million Americans traveled during the same period.
The 2010 Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, July 1 to Monday, July 5.
Air and Car Trips to Increase
Trips by automobile are expected to increase in popularity with 90 percent of travelers, or 31.4 million people, reaching their destination by driving. This is an increase of 17.7 percent from last Fourth of July when 26.7 million travelers went by motor vehicle.
AAA expects the national average price of self-serve regular gasoline to be between $2.70-$2.80 per gallon during this Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Leisure air travel also is expected to grow slightly with 1.56 million holiday flyers expected. This would be an increase of 8.2 percent from one year ago when 1.44 million flew.
Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by six percent of all travelers.
Airfares, Hotel and Rental Car Rates Increase
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, weekend daily car rental rates will increase four percent to an average of $54.
Airfares over the Fourth of July holiday weekend are expected to increase 13 percent from last year as air passengers will pay a lowest average round-trip fare of $192 per ticket. However, it is important to note that fares for the prior year dropped 16 percent and, in spite of the increase in 2010, fares are still below the average from two years ago.
Hotel rates for AAA "Three Diamond" lodgings are also expected to increase four percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $137 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA "Two Diamond" hotels will pay only one percent more at an average cost of $102 per night.