More than 47.9 million Americans, including a record 2.2 million Ohioans, will travel this Independence Day holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4). This is an increase of 3.7% nationally, and 3.8% for Ohio. While national travel numbers are expected to fall just shy of 2019, AAA expects Ohio travel will build on the record travel numbers set in 2021 to reach a new high this Independence Day.
“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, 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.”
Despite historically high gas prices, a record number of people are planning a holiday road trip, with 42 million Americans (nearly 2.1 million Ohioans) hitting the road this Independence Day travel period.
With so many on the road, AAA expects to respond to more than 446,000 calls for emergency roadside assistance during the Independence Day holiday weekend. AAA reminds motorists to ensure their vehicle is road-trip-ready. Also, remember to pack an emergency roadside kit just in case.
Long Delays Expected for Drivers
Drivers should expect the longest travel delays heading into the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1 as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.
“Even with gas hitting record prices, travelers are still eager to hit the road this summer,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX. “We expect nationwide travel times to increase about 50% compared to normal. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delays.”
Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel (Source: INRIX)
- Thursday: Worst time, 2-8 p.m. Best time, before 7 a.m. / after 8 p.m.
- Friday, July 1: Worst time, noon – 9 p.m. Best time, before 10 a.m. / after 9 p.m.
- Saturday, July 2: Worst time, 2-4 p.m. Best time, before noon / after 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 3: Low congestion expected all day
- Monday, July 4: Low congestion expected all day
AAA predicts Independence Day holiday air travel will grow by 1.5% nationally with 3.55 million Americans flying during the holiday travel period. Ohio air travel numbers will fall 1.2% compared to last Independence Day, with just over 70,000 Ohioans flying during the five-day holiday period. Higher flight costs, recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays may be pushing more people to drive this year.
“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” continued Twidale. “But not all destinations are within driving distance. 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.”
Despite relatively flat air travel numbers compared to last year, airports will be busy this holiday travel period. Air travelers should pack their patience and prepare for long lines at TSA checkpoints. AAA recommends air travelers arrive at the airport two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability may be limited, which will impact pricing.
- Air: AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than last year coming in at $201/ticket.
- Hotels: Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23%, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
- Car Rentals: While daily car rental rates have decreased 34% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $110/day, rates are $40 more/day on average than in 2019.
AAA booking data reveals that big cities and international classics are top destinations this Independence Day. AAA data shows that bookings for air, car rentals, cruises, hotels, and tours are up 60% over last year for the top domestic Independence Day destinations and up 252% for international destinations.
Top domestic Independence Day travel destinations include:
- Orlando, FL
- Seattle, WA
- New York, NY
- Anaheim, CA
- Anchorage, AK
- Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Honolulu, HI
- Denver, CO
- Chicago, IL
Top international Independence Day travel destinations include:
- Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Paris, France
- London, England
- Rome, Italy
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Dublin, Ireland
- Calgary, AB, Canada
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Cancun, Mexico
- Nassau, Bahamas