More than 47.7 million Americans is likely to take to the nation’s roadways and skies this Independence Day (July 1–5), as travel volumes are expected to nearly fully recover to pre-pandemic levels, as per AAA data. According to reports, this will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019. This represents an increase of nearly 40% compared to last year, when total travel fell to 34.2 million. Overall, just 2.5% fewer Americans are expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019.
While all modes of travel will see increased demand this Independence Day, road trips continue to dominate this summer. Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, more than 91% of holiday travel will be by car. An expected 43.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday and 5% more than the previous record set in 2019. With 3.5 million people planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels, and increase 164% compared to last year.
Another 620,000 Americans are expected to travel by other modes this Independence Day, an increase of over 72% compared to last year, but 83% lower than in 2019. This includes travel by bus and train, and also the return of cruising. Cruise lines have announced limited sailings resuming from U.S. ports beginning in late June. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA have predicted that drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters will leave work early and mix with holiday travelers, along with the return trip on Monday mid-day. Major metro areas across the U.S. could see nearly double the delays verses typical drive times, with drivers in Boston and San Francisco likely to experience nearly three-times the delays.
Lloyd Albert, Senior Vice President, Public and Government Affairs, AAA Northeast has said that travel is in full swing this summer as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half. He also shared witnessing strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications pointing to a busy Independence Day to follow.
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