Posts Tagged ‘Fourth of July’

Overall travel up 4.9 percent from Independence Day holiday period last year, mid-week holiday contributes to volume increase and affords travelers more departure day options

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 19, 2012)AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 4.9 percent increase over the 40.3 million people who traveled last year.  The expected 2012 Independence Day holiday travel volume will tie the past decade’s previous high mark set in 2007 and represents a near 42 percent increase from 2009. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.

Since July 4 falls on a Wednesday, the calendar will play a role in driving holiday travel volume as the mid-week holiday expands the traditional five-day travel period to six days and provides the option of including a weekend and two week days on either side of the actual holiday.   When asked about day of departure, fifty-four percent of people intending to travel this holiday plan to begin their trip prior to the start of the work-week that includes July 4. Response percentages by trip departure day are:

 

  • 25 percent – Friday, June 29
  • 16 percent – Saturday, June 30
  • 13 percent – Sunday, July 1
  • 11 percent – Monday, July 2
  • 19 percent – Tuesday, July 3
  • 16 percent – Wednesday, July 4

“AAA’s projection for a decade high number of Independence Day travelers is being fed by Americans’ appetite for travel, a mid-week holiday and lower gas prices,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “This is the second holiday this year where travelers indicated a determination to travel while economizing by actively seeking value-added travel options and activities.”

“A healthy travel industry is critical to the overall well-being of our economy and consistent increases in travel are encouraging,” added Sutherland.

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Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

The price of gasoline is another factor expected to play a role in spurring intentions to travel this Independence Day holiday period.  On April 6, motorists experienced a year-to-date peak average price of $3.94 per gallon for regular gasoline.  The current national average price of regular gasoline is $3.50 per gallon, 44 cents lower than the April peak and 16 cents less than this time last year.

 

Automobile travel up four percent, highest auto travel volume in past decade

Approximately 35.5 million people plan to travel by automobile setting the high-water mark for the decade, as 84 percent of all Independence Day holiday travelers choose this traditionally dominant mode of transportation.  This is a four percent increase over the 34.1 million people who traveled by auto last year.

 

Number of air travelers expected to increase by over nine percent, airfares unchanged

Slightly more than 3.2 million leisure travelers (eight percent of holiday travelers) will fly during the Independence Day holiday period, a more than nine percent increase over the 2.9 million air travelers in 2011.  This year’s increase is the third consecutive year of rising Independence Day holiday air travel volume, following the decade low 1.4 million air travelers in 2009.

Airfares are flat year over year with an average lowest round-trip rate of $200 for the top 40 U.S. air routes in both 2011 and 2012, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.  A longer holiday period and stable airfares are spurring this increase.

The remaining eight percent of holiday travelers are expected to use other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship, accounting for 3.6 million travelers – a 10 percent increase over last year and the second highest volume in the past ten years.

 

Travelers to experience increases in hotel rates, decreases in car rental rates

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Independence Day holiday hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $164 per night compared to $157 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay nine percent more at an average cost of $120 per night.  Weekend daily car rental rates will average $40, a nine percent decrease from one year ago.

 

Average travel distance increases

According to a survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Independence Day holiday weekend is expected to be 723 miles, up 150 miles from last year’s average 573 miles.  The increase in expected air travel is a factor in lifting the average travel distance as air trips typically span a longer distance than automobile trips.  The survey found that the share of holiday trips in excess of 1,500 miles increased to 18 percent from last year’s 10 percent share, while the share of trips shorter than 250 miles decreased to 28 percent from 35 percent a year ago.

 

Median spending down seven percent, travelers continue to economize

Median spending is expected to be $749, a seven percent decrease compared to the expected median spending of intended holiday travelers ($807) in 2011.

The Independence Day holiday traditionally involves spending time with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors and participating in celebrations highlighted by fireworks. This year’s survey of intended travelers found that the economizing travel consumer behavior reported in AAA’s Memorial Day travel forecast will continue over the Independence Day holiday period.  Lower spend activities like visiting family and friends and sightseeing are expected to increase up to four percent, while shopping and entertainment will decrease by as much as nine percent.

 

AAA offers mobile travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for 101 top North American destinations, free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from city titles, like Orlando, New York and the award-winning Las Vegas, as well as National Parks.

Free AAA apps for iPhone and Android devices use GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby member discounts and find current gas prices. Travelers can learn about AAA apps and AAA Mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.

Travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s digital travel planning tools or online at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2012 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla.,  June 23, 2010

Travel by automobile continues to be dominant mode of transportation as AAA expects more emergency roadside assistance calls than any other summer holiday

Cynthia BroughAAA today projected the number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday weekend will increase 17.1 percent from 2009, with approximately 34.9 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 29.8 million Americans traveled during the same period. The 2010 Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, July 1 to Monday, July 5.

“While financial markets continue to have volatility related to the European debt crisis, the landscape of the U.S. economy is in a much different place than it was one year ago,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services. “It is encouraging to see such growth this summer as Americans take to the road to visit family, friends and great vacation destinations.”

MacDonell added, “AAA travel agents continue to report double-digit increases in the percentage of travelers making advanced reservations for cruises, and vacation packages and online hotel bookings via AAA.com are up over last year — all of which are positive signs pointing to an increase in the number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday.”

As the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico continues, the situation is changing rapidly and the impact on tourism in the Gulf Coast region is still unknown. However, currently most beaches remain open and while AAA offices have reported member inquiries regarding travel to the Gulf Coast, they have not experienced widespread cancellations. Additionally, travelers visit these communities for reasons other than boating and swimming including visiting family and friends, state and national parks, golfing, shopping, dining and nightlife. Therefore, AAA is projecting an increase in travel in states in the Gulf Coast region as well.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010 Fourth of July holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

Air and car trips to increase

Trips by automobile are expected to increase in popularity with 90 percent of travelers, or 31.4 million people, reaching their destination by driving. This is an increase of 17.7 percent from last Fourth of July when 26.7 million travelers went by motor vehicle. AAA expects the national average price of self-serve regular gasoline to be between $2.70-$2.80 per gallon during this Fourth of July holiday weekend. Leisure air travel also is expected to grow slightly with 1.56 million holiday flyers expected. This would be an increase of 8.2 percent from one year ago when 1.44 million flew. Trips by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by six percent of all travelers.

AAA also cautions that the Fourth of July marks the busiest travel holiday for emergency roadside services calls. As temperatures rise, vehicles are put to the test. Without preventive maintenance the summer heat increases the likelihood of a motorist experiencing a vehicle failure, leaving them unexpectedly – and dangerously – stranded on the side of the road. AAA expects it will come to the aid of 520,000 stranded motorists during the holiday weekend. Batteries can be especially affected by heat and AAA anticipates it will replace 30,000 auto batteries on the roadside and jump start an additional 60,000 during the holiday weekend. The nation’s largest motor club also will aid 85,000 motorists locked out of their vehicles and change 75,000 flat tires.

To decrease the likelihood of break down, AAA recommends motorists have their vehicle serviced regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule and identify a quality repair shop. AAA offers a free public service to help consumers find quality auto repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can either look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA Approved shop online at AAA.com/repair.

AAA also helps motorists prepare for the heavy toll summer heat can have on a vehicle batteries with its Mobile Battery Service. In many areas, AAA Mobile Battery technicians will travel to members to test their vehicle’s battery and ascertain if it’s near the end of its life, in need of replacement and susceptible to failure in the summer heat.

Median spending down; average distance traveled will be 617 miles

The average distance traveled by Americans this Fourth of July holiday weekend (617 miles) is forecast to be approximately the same as one year ago (614 miles). Median spending is estimated to be $644 this Fourth of July, nearly $50 less than last year when median spending was estimated at $693. Fifty-eight percent of Americans will spend time with friends and relatives over the holiday.

Airfares, hotel and rental car rates increase over holiday compared to last year

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares over the Fourth of July holiday weekend are expected to increase 13 percent from last year as air passengers will pay a lowest average round-trip fare of $192 per ticket. However, it is important to note that fares for the prior year dropped 16 percent and, in spite of the increase in 2010, fares are still below the average from two years ago. Weekend daily car rental rates will increase four percent to an average of $54. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are also expected to increase four percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $137 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels will pay only one percent more at an average cost of $102 per night.

AAA offers a variety of travel planning tools including free TourBook travel guides and maps for members and the TripTik® Travel Planner, available free to all travelers at AAA.com. Three iPhone apps offer access to AAA products and services on the go. The AAA TripTik Mobile app provides gas prices and information on hotels, restaurants and attractions. The AAA Discounts app, which has been downloaded more than 800,000 times, uses GPS technology to acquire a user’s location and displays nearby AAA Show Your Card & Save® locations. With AAA Roadside, AAA members requiring emergency service can quickly send their location, vehicle description and specific breakdown details directly to AAA. The free apps are available for download at the iTunes Store.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Orlando, Fl – 6/22/2011

Despite recent declines, the sustained period of expensive fuel prices about one dollar more than a year ago will offset year-over-year improvement within other economic indicators.

AAA forecasts 39 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 2.5 percent decline from the 40 million people who traveled a year ago. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.

“AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Independence Day travelers mainly due to fuel prices being approximately one dollar per gallon higher than last year,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services. “Increased fuel costs are also responsible for a shift in the demographics of the typical Independence Day traveler as higher prices impact lower income households more significantly.”

The amount of money spent each month on gasoline is unlikely to vary much across household income groups, however as a share of total spending fuel is obviously going to consume a larger share of the budget for lower income households. As a result, the percentage of travelers with a household income of $50,000 or less is expected to decrease from 41 percent to 33 percent, while travelers with a household income of more than $100,000 are expected to increase to 35 percent from 26 percent.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2011 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

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Automobile travel down three percent, but five out of six travelers will drive to destination

Approximately 32.8 million people plan to travel by automobile and that’s a decline of almost a million auto travelers from the 33.7 million who drove last year. Automobile travel remains the dominant mode of transportation (84 percent of holiday travelers) despite gasoline prices about a dollar per gallon more expensive than a year ago in many parts of the country. If current market conditions persist, AAA expects the national average price for regular gasoline to remain between $3.60 and $3.70 per gallon during the Independence Day holiday weekend.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

A survey of intended travelers found that 56 percent said rising gasoline prices would not impact their travel plans. For the remaining 44 percent who said rising gas prices would impact their travel plans, seven out of 10 will economize in other areas and three out of 10 are planning to take a shorter trip or travel by a different mode of transportation.

Travelers concerned about how fuel prices will impact their travel budget can use AAA’s free, GPS-based TripTik® Mobile application to compare prices for all grades of gasoline at nearby stations. TripTik Mobile is available for iPhone and Android devices. Travelers may also use TripTik Mobile to get maps and directions, AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotel and restaurant information complete with AAA inspector notes, plus details about attractions, events and Approved Auto Repair facilities.

Number of air travelers expected to increase by nine percent

A little more than three million leisure travelers (eight percent of holiday travelers) will fly during the holiday weekend, a nine percent increase from last year’s 2.75 million air travelers. This increase continues a rebound in air travel that began in 2010 following the lowest years for air travel in the past ten – 2009 and 2008. The rising cost of gasoline is a contributing factor to the increase in air travel, as the increasing cost of travel by car is making air travel a more viable option for some travelers despite recent increases in air fares. The remaining eight percent of holiday travelers are expected to travel by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft.

Travelers to experience increases in airfares, hotel rates and car rental rates

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Independence Day holiday airfares are expected to be 11 percent more than last year with an average lowest round-trip rate of $213 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase three percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $147 per night compared to $143 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay eight percent more at an average cost of $110 per night. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $56, a three percent increase over a year ago.

Average travel distance down seven percent; median spending up 25 percent from last year

According to a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Independence Day holiday weekend is expected to be 573 miles, which is seven percent less than last year’s average travel distance of 617 miles. Median spending is expected to be $807, an increase of 25 percent from $644 last year.

AAA offers mobile and digital travel planning resources

For Independence Day getaways and vacation planning, travelers may use AAA’s digital eTourBook guides for smartphones and ereader devices. Each new digital guide book highlights a top North American travel destination, complete with listings for AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants; AAA Editor’s Picks for attractions, events and nightlife; and other proprietary information available only through AAA. Members can download the 40 available titles at AAA.com/ebooks and sync them to their device for on-the-go use.

AAA makes trip planning tools accessible on the mobile devices travelers use every day. Along with the TripTik Mobile app, AAA offers iPhone and Android versions of AAA Discounts and AAA Roadside. Using GPS technology, AAA Discounts displays nearby locations that offer AAA members a Show Your Card & Save discount and AAA Roadside transmits a user’s location and details about a vehicle breakdown when a member requests AAA Roadside Assistance. Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is needed to take advantage of the available AAA member features and benefits.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Orlando, Fla., June 24, 2009

Millions traveling will find travel bargains and lower airfares, which give air travel a slight boost 

AAA today projected the number of Americans traveling on vacation this Fourth of July holiday weekend will decrease 1.9 percent from 2008 with approximately 37.1 million travelers taking a trip of 50 or more miles away from home. Last year, 37.8 million Americans traveled during the same period; a 10.5 percent decline from the 42.3 million travelers who vacationed in 2007. The July 4th holiday is typically the busiest time of year for auto travel since nearly all school-aged children are out of school at this time and, as a result, parents are more apt to take family vacations at this time.

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AAA said the projected slight decline in leisure travel is mainly due to ongoing uncertainty about the strength of the economy; especially rising joblessness and sagging personal incomes. The recent rise in gasoline prices may also be causing some travelers to limit or abbreviate their holiday plans, although its impact on overall vacation costs remains minimal, AAA said.

“Many Americans remain cautious about the outlook for their personal finances and these attitudes are reflected in the slight decline in travel we are forecasting for the upcoming holiday weekend,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA President & CEO. “Those who do vacation this summer will find a plethora of attractive discounts and special offers resulting in some outstanding vacation values. If you can afford to go, this summer is a smart time to travel.”

AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA earlier this year as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2009 July 4th holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

Air travel to increase, while auto travel dips

Although air travel will account for only five percent of July 4th leisure travel, the industry is expected to see a 4.9 percent increase in leisure travel bookings this holiday due to declining airfares and pent up demand from those who have not taken a vacation trip by air in some time. Two million person trips are expected by air. Last July 4th air travel declined steeply, so this year’s rebound is significant.

Although fuel prices remain much lower than they were one year ago, the relatively steep price increase since May will dampen consumer enthusiasm for road trips. AAA projects a 2.6 percent decline in auto trips from 33.4 million last year to 32.6 million in 2009. More attractive airfares also will contribute to the decline in auto travel.

Trips by other/multi modes, including air/auto combinations, rail, buses and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by an estimated 2.5 million Americans, or 7 percent of all travelers.

Average spending will be $1,160 and average distance traveled will be 614 miles

Fourth of July travelers expect to spend approximately $1,160 per household this upcoming holiday weekend. Transportation and accommodations will account for about half of trip spending, while food and beverage absorbs another 20 percent of the holiday budget. Shopping, entertainment and recreation will account for the remaining 30 percent of spending on average.

Gasoline prices are up substantially since May, but are still much lower than they were at this time last year. This should encourage some travelers to drive long distances over the holiday weekend. Fourth of July travelers will log an average of 614 miles roundtrip this upcoming holiday weekend. Over one third (38%) of travelers will stay relatively close to home, with expected round trips of under 250 miles. One third of weekend travelers will log between 250 and 700 miles. And 28 percent will travel over 700 miles round trip.

Airfare and lodging costs will be lower

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index – a monitor of pricing in 20 popular cities across the US for hotel and car rentals, as well as 40 pairs of cities for air travel pricing – the lowest average published airfares over the July 4 holiday weekend are expected to decrease 16 percent from last year as air passengers will pay as little as $169. From February 2009 through June 2009, the lowest fares have been less than the same timeframe in 2008. Car rental rates are up slightly with consumers paying an average of $51 per day compared to $49 a year ago, an increase of five percent. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond and Two Diamond lodgings are expected to be 12 percent less than last year with travelers spending an average of $137 per night for Three Diamond properties. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels will pay an average of $101 per night.

Holiday Forecast Approach

In cooperation with AAA, IHS Global Insight has developed a unique approach to forecasting actual travel that explicitly considers current economic conditions, past July 4th holiday travel trends and behavior, and the recent assessment of pre-holiday American travel intentions derived from a survey of 2,700 American households.

The intentions figures act as a leading indicator, but do not constitute the forecast itself. Instead, travel intentions overlay other key travel drivers along with past trends in an effort to project what Americans will actually do this coming July 4. The approach recognizes Americans do not always behave as they say they will.

The actual travel figures come from the ongoing travel panel database of D.K. Shifflet & Associates, the premier source of American travel volume and behavior. DKSA interviews over 50,000 American households per month in an effort to track trip incidence, composition, behavior, and spending… all after the trips have been taken.

Regional holiday trip forecasts are strongly influenced by the economic conditions that exist in each market. The pain associated with current economic conditions is of course not evenly distributed throughout the country. Relative strength in the Mountain Region (ID, MT, WY, NV, UT, CO, AZ and NM) for example, is reflected in our expectations for higher than average Independence Day weekend travel. It will be quite the opposite for the New England and East South Central regions.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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