A new report by the AAA, a nonprofit organization that provides travel, insurance, and automotive services, projects that 43 million Americans will travel this July 4th weekend.
This is the highest number ever recorded for Independence Day weekend, which is defined from Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.
“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before.”
One of the biggest reasons for the record-setting travel number is the decrease in gas prices, which will be lowest for Americans since 2005. Gasoline prices as a whole are well below recent years; the national average price for gasoline is $2.31 per gallon, 47 cents less than a year ago.
The AAA estimates that U.S. drivers have saved $20 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period last year.
Eighty-four percent of holiday travelers will opt to drive as their means of transportation this year, an 1.2 percent increase over last year.
A more confident consumer and rising economic activity are also reasons cited for the upsurge in travel.
Other modes of transportation include air travel – which is expected to increase by 2.2 percent over last year to 3.3 million Americans, and cruises, trains, and buses, which will increase by 2 percent to 3.3 million travelers.
AAA’s Leisure Travel Index says average airfares for the top 40 domestic routes this Independence Day will be 9 percent less, with the average roundtrip ticket costing $207. Hotel costs have also fallen slightly.
“Spurred by the lowest gas prices since 2005, more people than ever are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend,” said Doney. “Whether they’re traveling by car, plane, train, or cruise ship, it will be exciting to see so many Americans celebrating our nation’s freedom with their friends and family over the long holiday weekend.”