Spurred on by a renewed willingness to take on credit card debt, 41 million people will hit the road and take to the skies for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to auto club AAA.
According to a USA Today report, that would represent a 1.9% increase over the 40.3 million who traveled last Independence Day. More than 8 in 10 travelers, 34.8 million, will travel by automobile, the highest level since the pre-recession holiday in 2007.
“With school out for summer, the Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with 5 million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day (2014) weekend,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s chief operating officer.
AAA defines the Independence Day holiday travel period as Wednesday (July 2) to Sunday. Air travel over that period is expected to grow 1% to 3.1 million travelers from 3.07 million last year.
Travelers will find airfares 5% lower on average than a year ago, AAA says, “with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $215, down from $228 last year.” Other experts see a less rosy picture with airfares. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said June 17 that airfares increased nearly 6% from April to May, the biggest one-month increase in 15 years. That increase was part of a trend that saw airfares jump 4.7% from May 2013 to May 2014, according to the consumer price index.
AAA says that rental car costs will be about the same as last year, with hotel rates 15% higher for AAA Two Diamond hotels and 9% higher for AAA Three Diamond hotels.