AAA projects 70.9 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day holiday travel period. For the first time, AAA looked at the entire July 4th week, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday. This year’s projected number of travelers for that time period is a 5% increase compared to 2023 and an 8% increase over 2019.

“With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019.”

AAA projects a record 60.6 million people will travel by car over Independence Day week – that’s an additional 2.8 million travelers compared to last year. This year’s number also surpasses 2019 when 55.3 million people traveled by car over July 4th week. AAA car rental partner Hertz says Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are the cities displaying the highest rental demand during the holiday week. The busiest pick-up days are projected to be Friday, June 28, Saturday, June 29, and Wednesday, July 3.

Gas prices are lower than last year when the national average was $3.53. Pump prices will likely continue going down leading up to Independence Day. At that point, they will likely level off and remain relatively stable until after Labor Day, similar to last year. An important caveat is hurricane season – underway now – which could affect gas prices should a storm negatively impact Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers.

The number of air travelers is also expected to set a new record. AAA projects 5.74 million people will fly to their July 4th destinations. That’s an increase of nearly 7% compared to last year and a 12% increase over 2019. AAA booking data shows domestic airfare is 2% cheaper this Independence Day week compared to last year, and the average price for a domestic roundtrip ticket is $800. Airports will be packed throughout the week. AAA recommends arriving 2 hours early, reserving parking ahead of time, and traveling with carry-on luggage versus checked bags to save time and money.

More than 4.6 million people are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, including buses, cruises, and trains. This category is seeing an increase of 9% compared to last year, but this year’s number is shy of 2019’s figure of 4.79 million. Cruising continues its remarkable post-pandemic comeback. This time of year, Alaska cruises are in high demand, making Seattle and Anchorage top domestic destinations. Cruise travelers are also finding deals this summer. With new ships coming onto the market – and going for a premium – some cruise lines have been offering targeted discounts to fill older inventory for remaining cabins.

This July 4th week, travelers are cooling off in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska – and by the ocean! Seattle, Vancouver, and Anchorage are top destinations because of the popularity of Alaska cruises this time of year. Beaches in South Florida, Honolulu, Punta Cana, and Barcelona are in high demand. Historical sites in European cities like London, Rome, Dublin, Paris, and Athens are also popular. The top 10 domestic and international destinations below are based on AAA booking data.

Domestic:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Anchorage, AK
  4. Honolulu, HI
  5. Miami, FL
  6. New York, NY
  7. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  8. Las Vegas, NV
  9. Denver, CO
  10. Anaheim/Los Angeles, CA


International:

  1. Vancouver, BC, Canada
  2. London, England
  3. Rome, Italy
  4. Dublin, Ireland
  5. Paris, France
  6. Calgary, AB, Canada
  7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Barcelona, Spain