2021 travel volumes nearly back to pre-pandemic levels
The AAA is now forecasting travel volume for the July 4th Independence Day holiday weekend in the U.S. being the second highest on record; nearing the highs set in 2019.
More than 47.7 million Americans will take at least one domestic trip this Independence Day (July 1-5). This represents an increase of nearly 40% from last year, yet just 2.5% fewer than the 2019 holiday weekend.
Florida travel figures are also rebounding from last year. Nearly 2.6 million Floridians are forecast to take a trip during the holiday weekend. That's the second-most on record, and 36% more than the 2020 holiday period.
"Travel is back this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue vacations they've deferred for the last year-and-a-half," said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA - The Auto Club Group. "We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day."
Road Trips to Reach Record Highs
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 (2.4 million Floridians) will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday and 5% more than the previous record set in 2019.
"Road trips provide a sense of freedom and more control over the duration of your trip," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Even more expensive gas prices are unlikely to deter Americans from that road trip many have waited more than a year for. If anything, motorists are more likely to cut back on other expenses like lodging and dining out, to offset the higher cost of fuel."
Gas Prices are Most Expensive since 2014
The 2.4 million Floridians expected to travel by car are likely to find the most expensive Independence Day gas prices since 2014. In recent years, Florida gas prices averaged $2.11 (2020), $2.68 (2019), $2.73 (2018), $2.15 (2017), $2.23 (2016), $2.67 (2015), and $3.60 (2014) on Independence Day.
On Monday, June 21, 2021, Florida gas prices averaged $2.94 per gallon.
Air Travel Takes Off
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.
On average, airfares for the holiday period have declined 2% compared to last Independence Day. The lowest average price per ticket is $175. That's $4 less than last year, and $13 less than the 2019 holiday weekend.
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.
"AAA is so excited for the return of cruising and so are our travelers," Haas continued. "AAA Travel Advisors have seen surging demand for cruising, and cabins are filling up fast. While cruise lines have made tremendous strides to ensure the safety and security of their crew and passengers, traveler requirements could vary based on who you sail with and where you want to go. This is also true for many facets of travel right now. Because of this, we strongly encourage travelers to work with a travel agent, who can help keep you informed and find the trip that's right for you."
Top Independence Day Travel Destinations:
1. Orlando, FL
2. Anaheim, CA
3. Denver, CO
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. Seattle, WA
6. Chicago, IL
7. New York, NY
8. Atlanta, GA
9. Boston, MA
10. Kahului, Maui, HI