AAA projects 40.8 million Americans (12.9 percent of the population) will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a .8 percent decrease from the 41.1 million people who traveled last year. The anticipated decline in holiday travel is predominantly due to a shorter holiday period. With the Fourth of July landing on a Thursday this year, the holiday period has returned to the standard five-day holiday, compared to the six-day period in 2012 when the holiday fell on a Wednesday. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.
Decade-high travel volume occurred in 2007 when 42.3 million Americans traveled and the holiday also fell on a Wednesday. Last year had the second highest volume seen in the past 10 years. 2009 had the fewest number of travelers in the last 10 years at 29.8 million travelers. Over the past four years the travel volume for the Independence Day holiday has stabilized at just above 40 million travelers, which is well above the 13-year average of 38.9 million.
In the Pacific Region, (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), Fourth of July travel is expected to decrease by .7 percent, with 6.3 million people or 12.3 percent of the population taking trips. The regional economy is realizing positive growth in some areas, but the shorter holiday period this year is also impacting travelers in this region.
"This year's slight decline in Independence Day travelers is driven more by the calendar than the economy," says AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. "Last year had the second highest volume of Independence Day travelers seen in the past 10 years. Having the Fourth of July on a Wednesday meant people could take off the weekend before or after, or extend their vacation over both weekends. Independence Day is typically the busiest holiday of the summer travel season with six million more Americans traveling than Memorial Day just two months ago."