Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

The 4th of July is an American pastime and one of the busiest travel weekends. Despite higher travel costs, this year’s holiday is shaping up to have many people taking trips. Here’s a closer look at whether more people will drive or fly this Independence Day.

Record-High Road Trips

AAA predicts that 47.9 million Americans will travel over the Fourth of July by car, plane, train, bus or cruise. This total travel volume is higher than 2021 with 46.2 million but lower than 2019 with 49 million travelers.

For this year, the travel brands estimate that 42 million people will travel by car, which is a record high. The total number of road trippers reached 41.8 million in 2021 and 41.5 million in 2020.

Approximately 3.55 million will travel by air this year. This number is slightly higher than last year (3.50 million) but lower than in 2019 with 3.91 million air passengers.

For domestic travel, car trips are more popular this year as flights cost more now airports are crowded again. Additionally, people don’t want flight delays and cancellations which are becoming more common for many travel routes.

However, high fuel costs and more expensive hotel rates encourage households to stay closer to home for “nearcations.” AAA reports that the most popular domestic travel destinations include:

  • Orlando, FL
  • Seattle, WA
  • New York, NY
  • Anaheim, CA
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Chicago, IL

People are heading to perennial tourist spots for culture, theme parks and beach trips.

Highways in major cities can experience the most congestion on the afternoons of Thursday, June 30, 2022, and Friday, July 1, 2022. As a result, people will most likely get a head start on the long weekend on these dates.

International Flights Are Booming

Domestic air travel volumes returned to their pre-pandemic levels several months ago. However, international travel has been slower to rebound due to additional travel restrictions and the longer travel times.

That trend is starting to change, according to TripIt.

The online booking portal reports that 40% of its flight reservations for this holiday weekend are for overseas destinations.

Some of the most popular international destinations include:

  • London, England
  • Paris, France
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Rome, Italy

London is the most popular travel destination by air for the weekend. This European destination even edges out Seattle and Chicago.

Many European destinations no longer require a pre-arrival test result, reducing the likelihood of being denied entry. Additionally, the United States travel testing requirements no longer require a negative Covid-19 test for citizens coming back from abroad by plane.

These relaxed travel safety protocols can encourage more international travel.

There is also a lingering spirit of “revenge travel” as people are eager to fly overseas for the first time since the pandemic began. This mindset continues to have strong traction for domestic travel in 2022, although many people took a stateside vacation in 2021.

Final Thoughts

While more people will be driving than flying this 4th of July, it will be a busy holiday weekend. It’s wise to anticipate congestion on the roads and in the skies. In summary, seeing a rebound in domestic and international travel for a well-deserved getaway is encouraging.

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