With summer travel in full swing, a AAA report predicts record-setting car travel during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The release states that nearly 48 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes this weekend, which is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, and 42 million will be driving despite record-high gas prices.
“The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” AAA travel senior vice president Paula Twidale said in the release. “Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it’s not tapering off. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much needed vacation.”
Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays led to people taking their cars during the holiday weekend. The release stated people traveling by air will be at its lowest level since 2011.
“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” Twidale said. “But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn’t mean you have to abandon your vacation plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent who can help plan for the unexpected – like a flight cancelation. They are your best advocate.”
Drivers should expect the longest travel delays heading into the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1 as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Drivers in major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.
“Even with gas hitting record prices, travelers are still eager to hit the road this summer,” said INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue in the release. “We expect nationwide travel times to increase about 50% compared to normal. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delays. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoon.”