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Kara Hitchens
Manager, Public and Government Affairs, OH
O: (937) 224-2817
C: (937) 558-8427

DAYTON, OH - Nearly 49 million Americans will celebrate the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year—more than ever recorded since AAA began tracking holiday travel data in 2000.

Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1 percent over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday. For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, according to global mobility analytics company INRIX, in collaboration with AAA. Wednesday, July 3, is expected to be the worst day on the roads.

In addition to lower gas prices compared to last summer, broader economic indicators remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending and rising disposable incomes in many areas of the country are all spurring more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.

“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much-loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Cindy Russeau, AAA spokeswoman. “This holiday builds on Memorial Day’s strong travel demand, and with school now out, Ohio families are eager to travel.” 

National Independence Day holiday travel, by mode

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers–41.4 million–will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3 percent more than last year.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6 percent to 3.55 million passengers.



Ohio Independence Day holiday travel, by mode

 More than 2.1 million Ohioans will travel for over the five-day Independence holiday period.

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of Ohio travelers–1.86 million–will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.9 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: Nearly 92,000 Ohioans will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5 percent more than last year.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors for Ohioans will increase by 1.3 percent to nearly 156,000 passengers.

Record numbers equal record delays
For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, motorists are expected to experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday, July 3, according to INRIX. The problems are expected to escalate as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9 percent.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

Local travelers should be mindful of heavier traffic, especially if they will be traveling in the following metro areas:


Worst Day for Travel

Worst Time for Travel

Delay Multiplier


Friday, July 5

5:00 - 7:00 PM



Friday, July 5

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM



Friday, July 5

1:00 - 3:00 PM



Wednesday, July 3

2:00 - 4:00 PM



Thursday, July 4

1:00 - 3:00 PM


Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 3

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM


New York

Wednesday, July 3

1:45 - 3:45 PM


San Francisco

Wednesday, July 3

1:30 - 2:30 PM



Thursday, July 4

12:00 - 2:00 PM


Washington, DC

Sunday, July 7

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM


Travelers paying more for July 4th car rentals and airfares

Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will likely have to go toward other travel expenses, such as car rentals and hotel stays, which are trending higher. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10 percent more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5 percent higher than last year, at $69 daily. Meanwhile, midrange accommodations are expected to cost travelers between $153 for AAA Two Diamond and $189 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels.

Top Independence Day travel destinations
Fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. New York, New York
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Maui, Hawaii
  9. Anchorage, Alaska
  10. Chicago, Illinois

For those travelers planning an international vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada–a top departure port for Alaskan cruises–rounding out the top five.

According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.

AAA to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday across the country. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. Last year, AAA responded to more than 14,000 calls for assistance in Ohio alone.

AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers. 

AAA Urges Travelers to Not Drive Intexticated

AAA is also encouraging travelers to stay alert behind the wheel while traveling for the Independence Day holiday.  Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 13,000 crashes throughout Ohio were attributed to distracted driving in 2018. Drivers interacting with cell phones to perform tasks like texting or surfing the Internet are as great as eight times more likely to be involved in a crash. 



AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using 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. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here. 

About INRIX:
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. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.



AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app ( for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit


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