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HARTFORD, CT (June 29, 2021) – Almost two-and-half million New Englanders are expected to travel over the July 4th holiday weekend (July 1–5), with overall travel volume expected to nearly fully recover to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, for New Englanders and nationwide, this will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019. Overall, only about 2.5% fewer New Englanders are expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019. This represents an increaseof nearly 30% compared to last year.

RECORD number of New Englanders to hit the road

While all modes of travel will see increased demand this Independence Day, AAA is projecting a record number of New Englanders will hit the road for the holiday. Despite the highest gas prices in years, more than 92% of holiday travel will be by car. More than 2.25 million New Englanders will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday and 4% more than the previous record set in 2019.

With 163,000 New Englanders planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day are up 130% over last year but still 15% below where they were in 2019.

“No doubt airports will be busy but the biggest story by far is the record number of New Englanders who will be hitting the road,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “Drivers should anticipate a lot of traffic, plan accordingly and travel at off-peak hours whenever possible.”

Another 25,000 New Englanders are expected to travel by other modes of transportation this Independence Day, an increase of over 60% compared to last year, but still 84% lower than in 2019. This includes travel by bus and train, and also the return of cruising. Cruise lines have announced limited sailings resuming from U.S. ports beginning in late June. For those who make the personal decision to take a cruise, AAA reminds them that a travel advisor can provide guidance regarding cancelation policies, what you can expect on your cruise, and travel insurance options to help protect your health and travel investment before and during your vacation.

2021 New England Travel Forecast – Independence Holiday

 

Total

Automobile

Air

Other

(Bus, Train, Cruise)

2021 (Forecast)

2.47 M

2.28 M

163,000

25,000

2020 (Actual)*

1.92 M

1.83 M

71,000

16,000

2019 (Actual)

2.54 M

2.20 M

190,000

153,000

Change (2019 to 2021)

−2.6%

+4%

−14%

−84%

Change (2020 to 2021)

+29.1%

+24.9%

+131.2%

+60.4%

*AAA did not issue an Independence Day holiday travel forecast in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, actual travel volumes were recorded after the holiday for comparison purposes this year.

Top Destinations & Resources to Plan Your Trip

AAA Travel booking data also indicate a strong travel recovery for summer. Theme parks in Orlando and southern California, as well destinations including Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle are topping the list of Independence Day destinations this year. (*Based on AAA Travel advance air and tour bookings, July 1–5, 2021)

When planning a trip, refer to the new AAA Digital TourBook guides, now available for destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean at TourBook.AAA.com. Available on smartphone, tablet or desktop, the new interactive guides feature detailed destination information, must-see attractions, sample itineraries and more.

How to Find an 'Inspected Clean' Hotel

To meet the needs of today’s travelers, AAA is enhancing its Diamond inspections. Hotels that meet AAA’s standards for cleanliness, condition and new surface cleanliness testing will now be recognized as Inspected Clean and then assigned a Diamond designation. AAA inspectors will start conducting testing to identify Inspected Clean properties later this month. In the meantime, travelers can look for AAA’s Best of Housekeeping badge for peace of mind. Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests.

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. 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 travel by car this July Fourth,” says Parmenter. “Though prices will remain above $3 a gallon, travelers are likely to look for more free activities or eat out less, but still take their vacations as planned.”

AAA members can save on gas by joining the Fuel Rewards at Shell program. Save 30 cents per gallon on your first fill-up at Shell when you join between July 1 and August 31, 2021. Join now at AAA.com/Shell.

More Tips for Travelers

While many aspects of daily life start to return closer to a pre-pandemic normal, AAA cautions that the travel landscape has changed. Remember to exercise caution while traveling, and consider working with a travel agent to plan your trip. They can help if you need to make any last-minute changes to travel plans, explore travel insurance options and help you plan a vacation that meets your needs and comfort-level this summer.

Although the CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk to themselves, it’s important to keep in mind that some local and state travel restrictions may still remain in place. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest information to help plan their trip.

For travelers who are not vaccinated but choose to travel, CDC recommends that you practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and get tested for COVID-19 before and after travel.

Regardless of vaccination status, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

Make Sure Your Car is Road Trip-Ready

Before hitting the road, AAA reminds motorists to plan their route in advance and ensure their vehicle is ready, to help avoid a breakdown along the way. AAA expects to rescue more than 4,000 New Englanders just in the Greater Hartford area alone this Independence Day weekend.

AAA makes it easy to request assistance—by phone or text (1-800-AAA-HELP), app or online—and members can track the service technician’s progress en route to their vehicle. Also, don’t leave home without an emergency roadside kit and continue to pack extra snacks or meals as well as cleaning supplies, including disinfecting wipes.

Regardless of how you plan to get to your destination, AAA advises travelers to seek the advice of a knowledgeable travel agent to help plan their trips this Independence Day. To get started and to learn more, visit AAA.com/Travel.

Methodology:

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 AAA:
AAA provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 30 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

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. INRIX’s partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

About IHS Markit:
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.

CT Mailing Address:
815 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06119

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works 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 www.aaa.com.

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