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 19th, 2012 by Amanda Shapiro
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:
“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.
- July Holiday Forecast Announcement on YouTube- Short
- DOWNLOAD: Holiday Travel Forecast Video Announcement: short version (large download times vary by connection speed) – 180 MB
- DOWNLOAD: Holiday Travel Forecast Video Announcement: large version (large download times vary by connection speed) – 650MB
- Independence Day Forecast Report – 2012
- 2012 4th of July Impact of Mid-Week Holiday Infographic – Color
- 2012 4th of July Impact of Mid-Week Holiday Infographic – Black & White
- 2012 4th of July Travelers 2003 – 2012 – Black & White
- 2012 4th of July Travelers 2003 – 2012 – Color
- Independence Day Travel Forecast Infographic – Black & White
- Independence Day Travel Forecast Infographic – Color
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.
AAA Projects 31.5 Million Americans Will Travel Labor Day Holiday Weekend as Americans Drive More and Fly Less
August 24th, 2011 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla., August 24, 2011
Airfares rise 13 percent, and for the first time this year, the number of holiday air travelers expected to decline for a major travel holiday
AAA forecasts 31.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.4 percent decrease from the 32.3 million people who traveled one year ago. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 1 to Monday, September 5.
“AAA is projecting a decrease in the number of Labor Day travelers as some Americans react to recent economic uncertainty and increasing air fares,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services. “While automobile travel is expected to increase slightly, if recent declines in gasoline prices continue through Labor Day, we could see an increase in last-minute holiday weekend travel.”
The decrease in expected travelers is a result of a mixed economic outlook, consumer uncertainty regarding the overall economy, and recent downturns in economic factors that affect discretionary income, which is particularly relevant to the travel and tourism industry. Real disposable income is up just 1.3 percent, which is being offset by the travel price index rising 6.7 percent since last year, due primarily to rising transportation costs. The housing market remains depressed, with new and existing home prices down 2.4 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.
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 Labor Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.
Automobile travel up slightly, share of total holiday travelers increases
Approximately 27.3 million people (87 percent of holiday travelers) plan to take to the nation’s roadways this Labor Day holiday weekend. This is a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the 27.2 million Labor Day 2010 auto travelers, and a three percent increase in the share of total holiday travelers from last year’s 84 percent. Automobile travel remains the dominant mode of holiday transportation.
Number of air travelers expected to decrease
Almost 2.5 million leisure travelers (eight percent of holiday travelers) will fly during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 1.9 percent decrease from 2010. Rising fuel costs, combined with steady air travel demand, have resulted in rising airfares over the past few months. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Labor Day airfares are expected to be 13 percent higher than last year with an average lowest round-trip rate of $202 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Increasing airfares and fees are factors contributing to the decline in air travel, the first expected decline for a major travel holiday in 2011 as forecast by AAA.
Travel by other modes of transportation expected to decrease sharply
Other modes of travel (trains, watercraft, multi-modal travel) will make up the remaining five percent of total person-trips (1.7 million travelers), down from the 2010 share of eight percent, but well above the four percent seen in 2009. Travel via these modes is extremely volatile from year to year, with 2011’s 34 percent decline in expected travelers falling well within historical averages. These modes are more highly utilized by those within lower income brackets, and as such, are highly sensitive to changes in disposable income as well as the travelers’ confidence in the economy and their finances. Consumer confidence in the economy has been trending down in recent months, and according to a survey of traveler intentions, the share of travelers from the lower income bracket is expected to decline from 41 percent in 2010 to 37 percent in 2011. This combination of factors has resulted in the steep decline in travel via these modes forecast for this holiday period.
Travelers to experience increases in hotel rates, car rental rates decrease
Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $148 per night compared to $139 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 $43, a seven percent decrease from one year ago.
Average travel distance down slightly; median spending largely unchanged
According to a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be 608 miles, only slightly less than last year’s average travel distance of 635 miles. Median spending is expected to be $702, largely unchanged from $697 last year. Fuel and transportation costs combine to consume the largest share of holiday spending (27 percent), followed by accommodations (22 percent), food and beverages (21 percent), shopping (13 percent), entertainment and recreation (12 percent), and other costs (five percent).
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
A consistent story throughout the year has been the significant increase in gas prices. The current national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is approximately $3.57 per gallon, about 86 cents higher than one year ago. Down nearly 10 percent from their May peak, gas prices will have less of an impact on Labor Day holiday travelers than they had on Memorial Day and Independence Day holiday travelers, during which 42 percent and 44 percent of travelers, respectively, stated gas prices would impact travel plans. Seventy-one percent of intended Labor Day holiday travelers said gasoline prices would not impact their travel plans. For the remaining 29 percent who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 20 percent plan to economize in other areas while the remaining nine percent are divided between changing their mode of travel and taking shorter trips.
Travelers concerned about how fuel prices will impact their travel budget can download the free, GPS-based AAA TripTik® Mobile application to their iPhone or Android device to compare prices for all grades of gasoline at nearby stations. Travelers may also use AAA 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.
AAA marks 75 years of hotel and restaurant inspections
In 1937, to provide improved travel information for members, AAA employed its first inspectors, called field reporters, to inspect and report on hotels and restaurants. Inspection information was made available to members in the three regional TourBook guides published at that time. Today, AAA’s professionally trained inspectors continue to help ensure travelers have a positive experience as they inspect, Approve and assign ratings of One to Five Diamonds to more than 59,000 hotels and restaurants. AAA Diamond Ratings and inspector notes are available in a variety of print and digital formats and the inspectors participate in social media channels including the AAA TravelViews blog.
Members can download free AAA eTourBook guides at AAA.com/ebooks and sync them to their smartphones or ereader devices for on-the-go use. Each new digital guidebook highlights a top North American travel destination with listings for AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants; AAA Editor’s Picks for attractions, events and nightlife; and other exclusive AAA travel information. AAA travel information is also accessible to all travelers through the Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner on AAA.com.
AAA offers mobile travel information accessible on the devices travelers use every day. Along with the free AAA TripTik Mobile app, travelers can use the free AAA Mobile Web and also download free iPhone and Android versions of the AAA Discounts and AAA Roadside apps. 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 vehicle breakdown details to AAA when a member requests AAA Roadside Assistance. Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is needed to take advantage of members-only features and benefits. More information is available at AAA.com/mobile.
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.
April 17th, 2007 by Amanda Shapiro
ORLANDO, Fla. – April 17, 2007
With almost a month and half to go before the official start of the summer driving season – Friday, May 25, of the Memorial Day holiday weekend – AAA’s daily, online Fuel Gauge Report is showing a nationwide average price for self-serve regular of $2.866 per gallon.
Expressing concern about escalating gasoline prices across the nation even as crude oil prices remain stuck in the lower $60 – $65 per barrel range, AAA said today it is looking for the U.S. refining industry to begin reporting an increase in domestic fuel inventories by the end of this month.
It is important that American refineries and those who import gasoline to the United States begin demonstrating more gasoline in storage by the end of April, if U.S. consumers are to avoid a return of $3 gasoline in many parts of the country, AAA said.
The nation’s largest organization for motorists and other travelers has consistently pointed out to members, the public, media and lawmakers that demand for gasoline is increasing each year as the population and economy grow, and that efforts since the start of the decade have been ineffective at achieving anything close to price stability in the United States.
AAA said average gasoline prices are already over $2.90 per gallon in ten states and the District of Columbia. The nine states and there average prices are Ariz., $2.947; Calif., $3.338; Conn., $2.965; Fla., $2.910; Hawaii, $3.076; Ill., $2.932; Nev., $2.972; Ore., $3.067; and Wash., $3105. The average price in the nation’s capitol is $2.972 per gallon.
Earlier this year, AAA had said it expected prices to peak and then level off shy of a $3 per gallon national average. AAA remains optimistic that this will happen, but said its outlook has become more cautionary with each passing week.
According to AAA, the price of self-serve regular gasoline was about eight cents lower one year ago today at $2.782 per gallon.
New Jersey has the lowest average price in the nation at $2.662 per gallon. That state is situated where some the nation’s largest refining, storage and fuel importation facilities are.
Nationwide, the price of self-serve, mid-grade gasoline averages $3.042 per gallon, an increase from $2.710 per gallon in the middle of last month, and up from $2.953 one year ago. Self-serve premium averages $3.152 per gallon nationwide; up from $2.808 one month ago. Premium averaged $3.06 per gallon at this time last year.
The national average prices for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline for AAA’s mid-April survey for the last five years are: 2006, $ 2.687; 2005, $ 2.266; 2004, $1.780; 2003, $ 1.595; and 2002, $ 1.411.
AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report is based on data from Oil Price Information Service, the nation’s most comprehensive source of petroleum pricing information. AAA purchases the data and makes it available free on the Internet as a public service. Average daily prices for the nation, all 50 states and more than 250 localities are available for all grades of gasoline, making the site the most current and complete public source of fuel price information.
As the nation’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides 50 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 www.aaa.com.