June 26th, 2014 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla., (June 26, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 41 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 1.9 percent increase from the 40.3 million people who traveled last year and a nearly 14 percent increase compared to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The majority of travelers will be celebrating their freedom with a road trip, with more than eight in 10 (34.8 million) choosing to travel by automobile, the highest level since 2007. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6.
Highlights from 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast include:
- Willingness to take on credit card debt, not an increase in income, is responsible for the increase in consumer spending.
- Nearly five million more Americans are expected to travel for Independence Day than for Memorial Day.
- Travel volume for Independence Day has grown four out of the past five years and is expected to be more than six percent higher than the average of the past 10 years.
- Holiday air travel is expected to increase one percent to 3.1 million travelers from 3.07 million last year.
- Travelers will encounter airfares five percent lower than last year and car rental costs that remain consistent with last year at $58.
- Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are 15 percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are nine percent more.
“With school out for summer, the Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with five million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “In line with tradition, most travelers are celebrating their newfound summer freedom with an all-American road trip.”
An increase in consumer spending is primarily due to increasing credit, rather than rising incomes. Consumers have been hesitant to add to their credit card balances the past several years, but continued improvements in the employment picture and rising home values means they are starting to feel more comfortable taking on debt. In addition to consumer spending, a boost in consumer confidence and the employment outlook are driving more Americans to take a road trip.
“Steady improvement in the economy has spurred increased consumer confidence and spending,” continued Doney. “Optimistic Americans are more willing to take on debt this year, dusting off their credit cards to pay for a much-needed Independence Day getaway.”
Travelers likely to pay most expensive Independence Day gas prices in six years
AAA expects the majority of U.S. drivers likely will pay the highest gas prices for Independence Day since 2008. Today’s national average price of gas is about 20 cents per gallon more expensive than the average on July 4, 2013, which was $3.48 per gallon. In recent years gas prices have declined in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, but this has not occurred this summer due to higher crude oil costs as fighting intensifies in Iraq. AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.
Travel expenses mixed
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase nine percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $178 per night compared to $164 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen 15 percent with an average cost of $137 per night.
Weekend daily car rental rates will average $58, the same as last year. Airfares have declined five percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $215, down from $228 last year.
AAA offers digital travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.
The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides 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 Colorado-based business information provider 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. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast can be found here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.
June 29th, 2012 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla., (June 29, 2012) –As everyone searches for their favorite spot to watch fireworks or makes plans to attend celebrations around the July 4 holiday, AAA strongly encourages arranging a safe ride home before they partake in any festivities.
AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.
While not a nationwide program, a number of AAA clubs offer Tow-to-Go or Tipsy Tow service on select dates for members and nonmembers. This service is not available everywhere. AAA strongly encourages family and friends to pick a designated driver before they head out for any Independence Day celebrations.
*Please note availability is subject to change without notice
AAA Clubs Currently Offering a Tipsy Tow Program for Independence Day (July 4, 2012)
- The Auto Club Group (Statewide in Florida and Georgia and Tennessee. Program is called “Tow-to-Go”)
- AAA Northwest Ohio ( available in Lucas, Fulton, Wood, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Ottawa counties)
- AAA Northern California (in all club territories)
- AAA Nevada ( Statewide)
- AAA Utah (Statewide)
- AAA New Jersey Automobile Club (Morris, Essex and Union counties)
- AAA Arizona (statewide)
- AAA South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton
- AAA Oklahoma ( Metro Tulsa, Metro Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Ardmore and Lawton )
- AAA Texas (statewide)
- AAA New Mexico (statewide)
- AAA Utah (statewide)
- AAA Hawaii
- AAA Alabama – (Program is called Tow-For-Life)
- Automobile Club of Southern California (in all club territories)
- AAA Mid-Atlantic is a key part of the “Tipsy Taxi” program in the Baltimore area only. This program offers cab rides home to members and non-members.
For a comprehensive list of other community programs listed state by state, please visit AAA’s DUI Justice Link Website
June 22nd, 2011 by Amanda Shapiro
Orlando, Fl – 6/22/2011
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.
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.