Nearly 71 Million People Expected to Travel over July 4th Week

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Nearly 71 Million People Expected to Travel over July 4th Week

Statue of Liberty and July 4th fireworks

AAA projects that 70.9 million travelers will venture at least 50 miles away from home during the Independence Day holiday travel period. This projection covers the entire week of July 4th, including the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday. The expected number of travelers represents a 5% increase from 2023 and an 8% increase from 2019.

“With summer vacations underway and the option for remote work, more Americans are embarking on extended trips around Independence Day,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “We anticipate this July 4th week to be the busiest ever, with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019.”

AAA forecasts a record number of 60.6 million travelers to journey by car during Independence Day week, showing an increase of 2.8 million travelers compared to the previous year and surpassing the 55.3 million travelers in 2019. Hertz, AAA’s car rental partner, identifies Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as cities with high rental demand during the holiday week. The busiest days for rental pick-ups are estimated to be Friday, June 28, Saturday, June 29, and Wednesday, July 3.

Gas prices, lower than last year at a national average of $3.53, are expected to decrease further leading up to Independence Day before stabilizing until after Labor Day, similar to previous years. However, the ongoing hurricane season could impact gas prices if a storm negatively affects Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers.

Air travel is also anticipated to reach record levels, with 5.74 million individuals expected to fly to their July 4th destinations. This marks a nearly 7% increase from last year and a 12% rise from 2019. AAA’s booking data shows a 2% decrease in domestic airfare prices compared to last year, with the average cost of a domestic roundtrip ticket being $800. Airports are expected to be crowded throughout the week, prompting AAA’s recommendations to arrive at least 2 hours early, pre-book parking, and travel with carry-on luggage to save time and money.

More than 4.6 million travelers are expected to utilize other modes of transportation, such as buses, cruises, and trains. While this category shows a 9% increase from last year, it falls short of 2019 figures. Alaska cruises are particularly popular during this time, with Seattle and Anchorage as top domestic destinations. As cruises make a post-pandemic comeback, travelers are finding summer deals with some cruise lines offering discounts to fill remaining cabins on older ships.

Best/Worst Times to Drive and Peak Congestion by Metro

INRIX, a transportation data and insights provider, highlights that the worst times for car travel before and on July 4th are between 2 pm and 7 pm. Drivers are advised to hit the road in the morning, while travelers returning on Monday, July 8th should avoid rush hour traffic in the morning and afternoon.Major cities can expect heavy traffic on Wednesday, July 3rd as people depart for their holiday plans, and on Sunday, July 7th as they return home, according to transportation analyst Bob Pishue at INRIX. During the holiday week, road trips could take up to 67% longer than usual. Travelers are advised to stay updated on road conditions through 511 services, local news channels, and traffic apps.

Please keep in mind that the times mentioned below are based on the time zone of the specific city.

For example, travel times for Atlanta are based on Eastern Time (ET) and for Los Angeles on Pacific Time (PT).

Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car

Date Worst Travel Time Best Travel Time
Monday, Jul 1 Minimal Traffic Impact Expected
Tuesday, Jul 2 2:00 – 6:00 PM After 7:00 PM
Wednesday, Jul 3 2:00 – 7:00 PM Before Noon
Thursday, Jul 4 2:00 – 7:00 PM Before Noon
Friday, Jul 5 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM Before 10:00 AM
Saturday, Jul 6 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM Before 10:00 AM
Sunday, Jul 7 2:00 – 8:00 PM Before 11:00 AM
Monday, Jul 8 1:00 – 5:00 PM After 7:00 PM |According to INRIX, the peak congestion in different cities varies. For instance, the travel time between Birmingham and Atlanta on a Sunday around 6:30 PM can take up to 3 hours and 36 minutes, causing a 42% increase compared to typical conditions.

In Boston, a trip from Boston to Hyannis via Pilgrim Hwy S on a Thursday at 1:45 PM might take 1 hour and 51 minutes, with a 31% delay from the usual travel time.

Chicago to Indianapolis via I-65 S could experience a significant delay of 61%, with a travel time of 4 hours and 59 minutes on a Wednesday at 2:45 PM.

Traveling from Fort Collins to Denver via I-25 S in Denver on a Monday at 7:30 AM may take 1 hour and 37 minutes, resulting in a 56% increased travel time.

In Detroit, peak congestion levels were not provided in the excerpt.- Toronto to Detroit via I-94 W on Monday 8th at 3:30 PM takes 5 hours and 35 minutes with a 29% chance.
– San Antonio to Houston via I-10 E on Saturday 6th at 1:30 PM takes 3 hours and 48 minutes with a 41% chance.
– Bakersfield to Los Angeles via I-5 S on Monday 8th at 2:15 PM takes 1 hour and 47 minutes with a 29% chance.
– Eau Claire to Minneapolis via I-94 W on Monday 8th at 4:45 PM takes 1 hour and 43 minutes with a 31% chance.
– Jersey Shore to New York via Garden State Pkwy N on Sunday 7th at 2:15 PM takes 1 hour and 25 minutes with a 40% chance.
– Poconos to Philadelphia via PA Turnpike on Monday 8th at 8:30 AM takes 3 hours and 17 minutes.

Origin Destination Date Duration Traffic
Portland Portland to Eugene via I-5 S Wednesday 3rd 5:00 PM 2 hours 20 minutes 35%
San Diego San Diego to Palm Springs via I-15 N Thursday 4th 6:00 PM 2 hours 55 minutes 16%
San Francisco San Francisco to Monterey via Santa Cruz Hwy S Tuesday 2nd 5:45 PM 2 hours 31 minutes 19%
Seattle Ellensburg to Seattle via I-90 E Sunday 7th 4:30 PM 2 hours 19 minutes 35%
Tampa Tampa to Orlando via I-4 E Wednesday 3rd 10:15 AM 1 hour 54 minutes 58%
Washington DC Baltimore to Washington DC via Balt/Wash Pkwy S Monday 8th 3:15 PM


1 hour 1 minute  67% 

Source: INRIX 

 Top Destinations 

During July 4th weekend, travelers are heading to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, as well as coastal areas! Seattle, Vancouver, and Anchorage are popular destinations due to the attraction of Alaska cruises at this time. Beach locations in South Florida, Honolulu, Punta Cana, and Barcelona are highly sought after. Tourist sites in European cities like London, Rome, Dublin, Paris, and Athens are also in demand. Below are the top 10 domestic and international destinations according to AAA booking data. 

Seattle, WA  Vancouver, BC, Canada 
Orlando, FL  London, England 
Anchorage, AK  Rome, Italy 
Honolulu, HI  Dublin, Ireland 
Miami, FL  Paris, France 
New York, NY  Calgary, AB, Canada 
Fort Lauderdale, FL  Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Las Vegas, NV  Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 
Denver, CO  Athens, Greece 
Anaheim/Los Angeles, CA  Barcelona, Spain 

Family Road Trip Checklist    

With road trips expected to set a new record this July 4th week, AAA partnered with Chicco to provide safety advice for families with young children.  



  • Check if the car seat fits. Before starting your journey, ensure your child’s weight and height are appropriate for the seat and how it’s used – especially theWhen discussing the transition from rear to forward-facing in cars, it is important for children to stay rear-facing for as long as possible to ensure better protection for their head, neck, and spine in case of an accident. If you are uncertain about which car seat is most suitable for your child, Chicco provides a car seat comparison guide.

    It is crucial to double-check the installation of your car seat. Even if it is already installed, it is worth verifying that everything is secure. You can perform an “inch test” at home by grabbing the seat at the car seat belt path and gently pulling side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in any direction, it should be uninstalled and reinstalled until a secure fit is achieved. For any queries, refer to the car seat manual, QR codes, or online resources like those offered by Chicco.

    It is advisable to secure loose items in the car by organizing and cleaning up before hitting the road. Storage organizers that attach to the back of the driver and passenger seats can help ensure that everything has a designated spot, especially loose items that could become projectiles in the event of a sudden stop.

    Being prepared for unexpected situations is key. Pack an emergency kit with first-aid supplies, water, snacks, blankets, jumper cables, and flares. Ensure your phone is fully charged and keep a charger in the car in case you need to call AAA or request roadside assistance digitally in cases like a dead battery, locked out, or needing a tow.

    When planning a road trip with young children, map out your route in advance using resources like AAA’s TripTik and browse hotels, restaurants, and other activities along the way on AAA’s Trip Canvas. Families with kids should plan for frequent and longer stops during the journey.

    For entertainment during the trip, make sure to have toys, books, or fully charged and pre-downloaded electronic devices within reach to keep children engaged. You can create a family playlist of everyone’s favorite songs to add fun to the road trip experience.

    In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence has developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. Economic variables such as employment, output, household net worth, asset prices, interest rates, and travel and tourism indicators are used to forecast travel for the current holiday. Historical travel volume estimates come from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/Monitor study, which analyzes the travel behavior of U.S. residents. AAA and SPGMI quantify holiday travel volumes and the expected mode of transportation based on this data analysis.The travel prediction in this report was created during the week of May 27, 2024.

    Comparison between AAA forecasts and TSA passenger screening numbers should not be made as AAA focuses on domestic leisure travel only, while TSA data includes all passengers traveling domestically and internationally. TSA counts each one-way trip as a passenger tally as passengers are screened each time they enter secured airport areas. On the other hand, AAA considers person-trips, including the full round-trip travel itinerary. Thus, direct comparisons of AAA forecast volumes and daily TSA screenings are based on different factors.

    The Independence Day holiday travel period covered in this forecast spans from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7, a nine-day duration. Historically, the Independence Day holiday period aligned with just one weekend. This year marks the first time this travel period has expanded to include two weekends.

    AAA, established in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts advocating for better roads and safe mobility in America, has evolved into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Serving 64 million members across North America, including 57 million in the United States, AAA offers services like roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial, and insurance services to enrich the life journey of its members.

    S&P Global provides essential intelligence to governments, businesses, and individuals, enabling them to make informed decisions with confidence. Offering credit ratings, benchmarks, analytics, and workflow solutions in global markets, S&P Global assists leading organizations in planning for the future.

    DK SHIFFLET possesses a comprehensive database on U.S. resident travel within the U.S. and globally, aiding leading travel organizations with strategic planning using data collected monthly from a representative U.S. sample.

    INRIX, founded in 2004, leads in intelligent mobility solutions by transforming big data from connected devices and vehicles into mobility insights. By empowering cities, businesses, and individuals, INRIX is contributing to a smarter, safer, and greener world with its data and analytics capabilities in shaping mobility and transportation.

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