newsaaa predicts more than 47 million people will travel this july 4th despite high gas prices

AAA predicts more than 47 million people will travel this July 4th despite high gas prices

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Summer travel is kicking into high gear, and Independence Day will be no exception, according to a news release from AAA.

AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend spanning June 30 – July 4.

Despite historically high gas prices, this is an increase of 3.7 percent over 2021.

With crowded roads and busy airports, AAA wants to prepare travelers so they can have a stress-free holiday weekend.

“Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it has not tapered off. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much needed vacation,” said Morgan Dean, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson.

Car travel volume, even with national average gas prices near the $5 mark, will break previous records as 42 million people opt to drive this Independence Day.

Recent delays and cancellations with air travel suggest more people may choose to drive to their destination.

“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” said Dean. “But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn’t mean you have to abandon your vacation plans.”

AAA offers the following advice for stress-free travel this summer:

  • Have a plan A, B and C. Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability may be limited, which will impact pricing.
  • AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14 percent more than last year coming in at $201/ticket
  • Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23 percent, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244/night
  • Since late last year, the average daily rate for car rentals has continued to increase. With more people traveling, these prices remain on the rise due to continued supply chain issues coupled with growing demand.
  • Make sure to get a full vehicle inspection ahead of any long trip but especially for components like a vehicle’s battery, engine and tires.
  • Even a vehicle in top shape can run into an issue so it’s a good idea to pack a well-stocked emergency kit and have roadside assistance just in case.
  • Travel on off-peak times or days or pick a hidden gem closer to home.

Drivers should expect the longest travel delays heading into the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

“Even with gas hitting record prices, travelers are still eager to hit the road this summer. We expect nationwide travel times to increase about 50 percent compared to normal. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delays,” says Bob Pishue, Transportation Analyst, INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

For more information, visit

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

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