Hamilton, NJ, June 26, 2019 – More than 47.7 million Americans will take to the nation’s roadways and skies this Independence Day holiday (July 1–5), as travel volumes are expected to nearly recover to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, nationally this will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019.
In New Jersey, over 1.27 million residents will travel for the holiday weekend, an increase of 36.5% over 2020 and just shy of the 1.34 million that traveled in 2019. The Great American Road Trip will be the mode of choice for 90% (1.15 million) of Garden State travelers, surpassing the 1.13 million who traveled in 2019.
With 110,070 New Jerseyans planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 91% of the pre-pandemic 2019 level, an increase 165.5% compared to last year. Another 17,000 New Jersey residents are expected to travel by other modes this Independence Day, an increase of 64.5% compared to last year, but 84% lower than in 2019.
“Travel is in full swing this summer, as New Jerseyans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” says Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”
AAA Independence Day Travel Highlights
- In New Jersey, over 1.27 million travelers are expected to travel for the July 4th holiday period, a 36.5% increase over last year.
- Nationally, 47.7 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 39.6% increase over 2020.
- In New Jersey, 1.15 million (90%) will drive to their destination, an increase of 30.1% percent over 2020.
- Nationally, 43.5 million (91%) Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 34.1% over last year.
- In New Jersey, 110,070 will be flying to their destination, an increase of 165.5% from 2020.
- Nationally, 3.5 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 163.7% over last year.
- In New Jersey, 17,360 will utilize other modes of transportation for their getaway, an increase of 64.5% over last year.
- Nationally, 620,000 travelers, an increase of 72.7% from 2020, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Long Delays Expected for Drivers
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers, along with the return trip on Monday mid-day. Major metro areas across the U.S. could see nearly double the delays verses typical drive times, with drivers in Boston and San Francisco likely to experience nearly three-times the delays.
“With travelers eager to hit the road this summer, we’re expecting nationwide traffic volumes to increase about 15% over normal this holiday weekend. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delay,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX. “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, along with Monday mid-day.”
Travelers: Prepare for Higher Prices
While AAA found average airfares have declined 2% compared to last Independence Day, travelers can expect to find higher prices for hotels and car rentals as demand climbs. Mid-range hotel rates have increased between 32% and 35%, with average nightly rates ranging between $156 and $398 for AAA Two Diamond and AAA Three Diamond hotels, respectively.
Daily car rental rates have increased 86% compared to last Independence Day, topping out at $166. “Consumers have experienced high costs and limited availability of rental cars in some markets, due to the chip shortage impacting auto manufacturers,” Noble said. “This production delay has presented a domino effect as rental car companies work to increase their inventory of new vehicles in time to meet the increased demand for domestic road travel.”
The 43.6 million Americans expected to travel by car this Independence Day can expect gas prices to be the most expensive since 2014 with the national average likely to remain above $3 per gallon. “Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer. In fact, we’re expecting record-breaking levels of car travel this July Fourth,” Noble added. “Though prices will remain above $3 a gallon nationally, travelers are likely to look for more free activities or eat out less, but still take their vacations as planned.”
Free “Great American Road Trip Vehicle Health Inspection”
In an effort to ensure cars are road-ready, AAA Mid-Atlantic is now offering a free “Great American Road Trip Vehicle Health Inspection” to both members and non-members at any AAA Car Care Center through the end of July. This free inspection includes tire, brake, battery, exterior lights and fluid level safety checks. Appointments can be scheduled at AAA.com/CarCare. In addition, AAA is offering free flat tire repair to members (just $9.99 for non-members) and $50 off any repair/service of $150 or more ($35 off any repair /service of $150 or more for non-members).
AAA has also compiled favorite trip-planning resources, backed by more than 100 years of road-tested experience and expertise. AAA.com/RoadTrip is a free resource to help travelers find inspiration, explore destinations, plan the perfect route and get their vehicle road trip ready.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, July 1 through Monday, July 5. When the Fourth of July falls on any day of the week other than a Wednesday, it is considered to be a five-day holiday period. The travel forecast was prepared the week of June 1, 2021.
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. For the 2021 Independence Day holiday travel forecast, IHS Markit also examined changes in the IHS Markit containment index regarding COVID‑19–related restrictions and activity.
About IHS Markit:
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.
IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth