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Fourth of July 2019 will have most travelers ever, AAA predicts

young people with american flag july fourth 4th

It’s fitting that, on a holiday commemorating the Declaration of Independence, millions of Americans will exercise their freedom by driving, flying, or riding.

Whether it’s to a backyard family barbecue or a spectacular fireworks show, the pursuit of happiness can lead travelers far from home.  AAA Travel is predicting—thanks to continued strong consumer sentiment and modestly lower gas prices—that Independence Day in 2019 will be the busiest ever recorded. That’s because they’re forecasting that nearly 49 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more between July 3 and July 7.

AAA's forecast by the numbers

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Travelers by automobile:

41.4 million

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Travelers by air:

3.9 million

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Travelers by train or other:

3.5 million

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National average gas price for regular as of June 24:

$2.66

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Projected increase in travelers in 2019 vs. 2018:

+2 million

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Years that travel volume will have increased:

6 in a row

The factors that affect the forecast

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Economy still going strong

Overall economic growth has been strong, with the unemployment rate at or near historic lows.

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Consumers feel optimistic

Consumer sentiment and confidence levels are high, and this is reflected in growing consumer spending.

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Gas prices modestly lower

The national average for a gallon of regular is $2.66, which is 23 cents less than last year.

Road traffic forecast for major cities, according to INRIX

Based on historical and recent travel trends for the Fourth of July holiday, transportation analytics company INRIX predicts drivers will experience the most holiday traffic in the late afternoon on Wednesday, July 3, as commuters leave work early and mix with vacation travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9%.

Atlanta

Worst day for travel:
Friday, July 5
Worst time for travel:
5-7 p.m.

Boston

Worst day for travel:
Friday, July 5
Worst time for travel:
10 a.m.-noon

Chicago

Worst day for travel:
Friday, July 5
Worst time for travel:
1-3 p.m.

Detroit

Worst day for travel:
Wednesday, July 3
Worst time for travel:
2-4 p.m.

Houston

Worst day for travel:
Thursday, July 4
Worst time for travel:
1-3 p.m.

Los Angeles

Worst day for travel:
Wednesday, July 3
Worst time for travel:
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

New York City

Worst day for travel:
Wednesday, July 3
Worst time for travel:
1:45-3:45 p.m.

San Francisco

Worst day for travel:
Wednesday, July 3
Worst time for travel:
1:30-2:30 p.m.

Washington, D.C.

Worst day for travel:
Sunday, July 7
Worst time for travel:
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Battey check

What it means for you

Road trips are a classic method of summer travel: AAA Travel predicts that more than 39 million automobile travelers will account for 84% of all Independence Day vacation trips.

With so many on the road, it’s no surprise this is a busy time for AAA’s Roadside Assistance. AAA expects to rescue about 367,000 motorists this Independence Day holiday. Want to avoid being one? Here’s what you can do:

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Get your battery checked

If your battery is more than 3 years old, don’t risk getting stranded. Have it tested with AAA Battery Service, which will come directly to you. Learn more about AAA Battery Service.

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Check your tire pressure

Improperly inflated or unevenly worn tires can lead to sudden blowouts, especially in hot weather. Not sure what you should be looking for? Check out AAA's guide to maintaining your tires.

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Bring a spare key

Despite the wide adoption of wireless “smart” keys, AAA hasn't seen a significant reduction in lockout calls. A backup key can’t prevent a lockout, but it can make it much easier to resolve.

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Get a checkup

Dead batteries and flat tires are most common, but AAA tows lots of vehicles with unforeseen engine, transmission, and brake issues. Not sure where to go? Consider a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.

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Pack an emergency kit

Every vehicle should have a kit with a phone charger, flashlight, first-aid kit, tire pressure gauge, adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, and snacks.

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Get the Auto Club App

Whether you’re looking to map a route, find low gas prices, request Roadside Assistance, or find an Approved Auto Repair facility, the Auto Club App makes it simple. Learn more about the Auto Club App.

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