Economy Watch: July 4th Travel to Set Record

Nearly 47 million Americans are expected to venture 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day holiday, an increase of more than 5 percent compared to 2017.

By D.C. Stribling

A record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday, an increase of more than 5 percent compared with last year and the highest number since AAA started tracking 18 years ago. That stands to be good news for the hospitality industry, as well as restaurants and tourist attractions, especially in larger metro areas.

On the other hand, for the 39.7 million Americans planning a Fourth of July road trip, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be twice as long as normal with Tuesday, July 3, being the busiest day.

This Independence Day, U.S. travelers will flock to theme parks in Orlando and southern California, while many others are headed west, the organization said. Alaska cruises departing from Seattle, Anchorage and Vancouver round out the top five U.S. travel destinations for the holiday. For those venturing overseas, Europe is a major draw, with Rome, London, Dublin and Paris all making the list of top international travel destinations for the time around Independence Day.

The vast majority of U.S. travelers—39.7 million—will take to the road this Independence Day, 5.1 percent more than last year. A record-breaking 3.8 million people will travel by air, a 7.9 percent increase from last year and the ninth year of consecutive air travel volume increase. Travel on Memorial Day this year was similarly brisk, noted AAA.