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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

AAA: Record-Breaking Travel Volumes Expected July Fourth Weekend

VIRGINIA BEACH — AAA is projecting 50.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day weekend, setting a record for the holiday.

Domestic travel over the long weekend will increase by 2.1 million people compared to 2022, it said, a projection surpassing the previous July Fourth weekend record set in 2019.

“We’ve never projected travel numbers this high for Independence Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “What this tells us is that despite inventory being limited and some prices 50% higher, consumers are not cutting back on travel this summer. Many of them heeded our advice and booked early, another sign of strong travel demand.”

(AAA Tidewater)

This weekend is expected to set a record for the number of Americans traveling by car for the holiday, with AAA expecting 43.2 million people will drive to their destinations.

Air travel is also expected to set a record. AAA projects 4.17 million Americans will fly to their destinations, an increase of 11.2% over 2022 and 6.6% over 2019. The previous July Fourth weekend air travel record of 3.91 million travelers was set in 2019. The share of air travelers in the overall holiday forecast this year is the highest percentage in nearly 20 years.

AAA also expects 3.36 million people will travel by bus, cruise, or train over the long weekend.

Locally, AAA is seeing a significant increase in cruise bookings, driven in part by Carnival Cruise departures from Norfolk this season, it said.

Best/Worst Times to Travel and Peak Congestion by Metro

Friday, June 30, is expected to be the busiest day on the roads during the Independence Day holiday weekend, according to INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights. Major metro areas like Washington, D.C. are expected to see the worst traffic, and INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest holiday congestion.

“With record-breaking travelers expected on the road this holiday weekend, drivers should prepare for above-average delays to their favorite destinations,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Using traffic apps, local DOT notifications, and 511 services are key to minimizing holiday travel traffic frustrations this Independence Day.”

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