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From Sea to Shining Sea: AAA Predicts 47.9 Million People Will Travel This July 4th

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Summer travel is already in full swing and Independence Day will be no exception as AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4). This is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019. The biggest surprise – car travel – will set a new record despite historically high gas prices with 42 million people hitting the road. With crowded roads and busy airports, AAA wants to prepare travelers so they can have a stress-free July 4th celebration.

“AAA Travel Advisors continue to see a high demand for travel during the Independence Day holiday,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “The summer travel season is kicking into high gear and, despite higher gas prices, Americans are ready for a break and that much-needed vacation.”

Car travel volume, even with national gas prices averaging over $5 per gallon, will break previous records as 42 million opt to drive this Independence Day.

South Atlantic Region Independence Day Forecast Highlights:
*Region includes Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Method of Travel

Total Travelers

Increase from 2021


8.0 million


Air travel



Other (bus, train, ship, etc.)



Region Total

9.0 million


Mid-Atlantic Region Independence Day Forecast Highlights
*Region includes New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Method of Travel

Total Travelers

Increase from 2021


5.2 million


Air travel



Other (bus, train, ship, etc.)



Region Total

6.2 million


East South Central Region Independence Day Forecast Highlights:
*Region includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Method of Travel

Total Travelers

Increase from 2021


2.4 million


Air travel



Other (bus, train, ship, etc.)



Region Total

2.6 million


East North Central Region Independence Day Forecast Highlights:
*Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Method of Travel

Total Travelers

Increase from 2021


8.2 million


Air travel



Other (bus, train, ship, etc.)



Region Total

8.9 million



This Summer, Travel Stress-Free

Independence Day will be the second busiest since 2000, as travel volumes continue to trend upwards with no sign of slowing down. It is important travelers are prepared and flexible to minimize stress and enjoy the holiday. AAA offers the following advice:

  • Have a plan A, B and C. Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability may be limited, which will impact pricing. It’s recommended travelers look for discounts and rewards, usually available through a membership like AAA. This is also another time when travel advisors are a great resource since they may know of a deal that may not be readily available to the public.
    • Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than last year coming in at $201/ticket.
    • Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23%, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
    • Car Rentals— Since last year, the average daily rate for car rentals has continued to increase. With more people traveling, these prices remain on the rise due to continued supply chain issues coupled with growing demand. While daily car rental rates have decreased 34% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $110/day, rates are $40 more/day on average than in 2019.
  • B-E-T on a breakdown-free trip. AAA expects to respond to over 446,000 calls for roadside assistance over the Independence Day holiday weekend. Make sure to get a full vehicle inspection ahead of any long trip but especially for components like a vehicle’s battery, engine and tires. Even a vehicle in top shape can run into an issue so it’s a good idea to pack a well-stocked emergency kit and have roadside assistance just in case.
  • Beat the rush. Travel on off-peak times or days. Based on AAA booking data, Friday, July 1 is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4) with Monday, July 4 being the lightest. For those hitting the road, the Thursday and Friday before the holiday are anticipated to be peak traffic days.

Top Destinations include Big Cities and International Favorites

AAA booking data reveals that big cities and international classics are top destinations this Independence Day. AAA data shows that bookings for air, car rentals, cruise, hotel, and tours are up 60% over last year for the top domestic Independence Day destinations and up 252% for international.

2022 Top Independence Day Destinations

U.S Destinations

International Destinations

Orlando, FL

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Seattle, WA

Paris, France

New York, NY

London, England

Anaheim, CA

Rome, Italy

Anchorage, AK

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Dublin, Ireland

Las Vegas, NV

Calgary, AB, Canada

Honolulu, HI

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Denver, CO

Cancun, Mexico

Chicago, IL

Nassau, Bahamas


Road Trips are King this Independence Day

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.

Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel


Worst Time

Best Time


2:00-8:00 PM

Before 7:00 AM / After 8:00 PM


12:00-9:00 PM

Before 10:00 AM / After 9:00 PM


2:00-4:00 PM

Before 12:00 PM / After 7:00 PM


Low congestion expected all day


Low congestion expected all day

Source: INRIX


Remember – Be Kind and Patient

For those traveling this Independence Day, it’s important to keep safety in mind. It’s easy to lose patience but remember, everyone has a common goal – kicking off their summer vacation safely.

Forecast Methodology:

In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence, a world-leading provider of financial information and solutions, developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. AAA and S&P Global Market Intelligence have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000.

INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. INRIX’s partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

About S&P Global

S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) provides essential intelligence, enabling governments, businesses and individuals with the right data, expertise and connected technology so that they can make decisions with conviction. From helping customers assess new investments to guiding them through ESG and energy transition across supply chains, S&P Global unlocks new opportunities, solves challenges and accelerates progress for the world. S&P Global is widely sought after by many of the world’s leading organizations to provide credit ratings, benchmarks, analytics and workflow solutions in the global capital, commodity and automotive markets. With every offering, S&P Global helps the world’s leading organizations plan for tomorrow, today. For more information, visit

About DKSA

DK SHIFFLET boasts the industry’s most complete database on U.S. resident travel both in the U.S. and worldwide. Data is collected monthly from a U.S. representative sample, adding over 60,000 traveling households annually and is used daily by leading travel organizations and their strategic planning groups. DK SHIFFLET is an MMGY Global company.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 72 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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AAA East Central is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.