AURORA, Ill., (June 29, 2015) – AAA projects 41.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day, the most since 2007 and a 0.7 percent increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5.
In Illinois, 2.3 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a .4 percent increase from 2014. Of those travelers, two million will be driving (up .4 percent from 2014) and 104,000 will be flying to their destination (a 1.1 percent increase from 2014). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.94, down substantially from $3.88 in 2014.
In Indiana, one million people are expected to travel, which is a one percent increase from 2014. Of those, 880,000 are expected to travel by auto (one percent increase) and about 46,000 by air (1.7 percent increase). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $2.77 per gallon, down from $3.71 this time last year. The average price nationally for gas is $2.78.
“This Independence Day, more people will get in their cars, board airplanes, and take buses, trains and cruise ships to celebrate our nation’s freedom with friends and family,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago. “Students all across the nation are also celebrating freedom from pencils and books, making this an ideal time for a family vacation. Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007.”
Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting more Americans to take a holiday trip this year. Despite recent seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has helped boost Americans’ disposable income.
“Although some consumers are using their recent savings on gas to pay down debt and save, overall, Americans are planning to travel in record numbers,” continued Mosher. “Independence Day gas prices are expected to be the lowest in at least five years, a welcome sign for the 35.5 million people planning a holiday road trip.”
All-American road trips remain popular for Independence Day
Nearly 85 percent of travelers (35.5 million) will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 0.7 percent. Holiday air travel is expected to increase 1.5 percent to 3.21 million leisure travelers. Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 0.5 percent this Independence Day, to 3.2 million.
AAA to rescue travelers stalled by a breakdown
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicle and check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance when needed.
Holiday travel expenses on the rise
Travelers will encounter moderately higher lodging rates and airfares this Independence Day. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is six percent higher this year at $145, while Three Diamond hotels will cost nine percent more, averaging $195. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent higher this Independence Day, climbing to $227.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Independence Day Travel Forecast can be found here.