Record 71 Million Americans Traveling Over July Fourth Week

Record 71 Million Americans Traveling Over July Fourth Week

Vacation News » Miami Edition | By Michael Gerrity | June 28, 2024 8:36 AM ET

Seattle, Orlando and Anchorage top travel destinations in 2024

Based on recently released AAA projections, 70.9 million travelers will journey 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day holiday period in 2024. This year's projected number of travelers represents a 5% increase compared to 2023 and an 8% increase over 2019.

"With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day," said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. "We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019."

AAA estimates that a record 60.6 million people will travel by car over Independence Day week, which is 2.8 million more travelers compared to last year. This year's figure also surpasses 2019, when 55.3 million people traveled by car during the same period. AAA's car rental partner Hertz notes that Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are the cities with the highest rental demand during the holiday week. The busiest car rental pick-up days are expected to be Friday, June 28, Saturday, June 29, and Wednesday, July 3.

Gas prices are lower than last year when the national average was $3.53. Prices at the pump are likely to continue decreasing leading up to Independence Day, then stabilize until after Labor Day, similar to last year. However, hurricane season could affect gas prices if a storm disrupts Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers.

The number of air travelers is also expected to reach a new record. AAA projects that 5.74 million people will fly to their July 4th destinations, marking a nearly 7% increase compared to last year and a 12% increase over 2019. AAA's booking data indicates that domestic airfare is 2% cheaper this Independence Day week compared to last year, with the average price for a domestic roundtrip ticket at $800. Airports will be crowded throughout the week, and AAA recommends arriving 2 hours early, reserving parking in advance, and traveling with carry-on luggage instead of checked bags to save time and money.

More than 4.6 million people are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, including buses, cruises, and trains. This category has seen a 9% increase compared to last year, though this year's figure is still below the 2019 total of 4.79 million. The cruise industry continues its remarkable post-pandemic recovery, with Alaska cruises in high demand and making Seattle and Anchorage top domestic destinations. Cruise travelers can also find deals this summer as some cruise lines offer targeted discounts to fill older inventory on their ships while new ships are coming onto the market at premium prices.

2024 Top Travel Destinations

This July 4th week, travelers are cooling off in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska - and by the ocean! Seattle, Vancouver, and Anchorage are top destinations because of the popularity of Alaska cruises this time of year. Beaches in South Florida, Honolulu, Punta Cana, and Barcelona are in high demand. Historical sites in European cities like London, Rome, Dublin, Paris, and Athens are also popular. The top 10 domestic and international destinations below are based on AAA booking data.

July 4, 2024 travel chart (By AAA).jpg

2024 July 4th Travel Chart.jpg

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