AAA: 2.6M Floridians will travel for Independence Day

Car travel expected to set a new record despite historically high gas prices


This Independence Day is projected to be the second busiest since 2000, as travel volumes continue to trend upwards with no sign of slowing down.

AAA — The Auto Club Group predicts that 2.6 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend (June 30-July 4). That’s 4% more than last year’s holiday and just shy of 2019’s.

“The volume of travelers expected over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA. “Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase, and it’s not tapering off. People are ready for a break and, despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much needed vacation.”

AAA is forecasting that 89% of Florida’s holiday travelers will be going by automobile, 7% by air and 4% by some other means, such as bus, rail or cruise. The biggest change is expected to come in the last category, a 153% increase over 2021 numbers.

While all modes of transportation are forecast to be stronger than last year, the biggest surprise is auto travel. Despite record high gas prices, AAA forecasts 2.3 million Floridians will take a holiday road trip, the most on record, dating back to 2001.

Although air travel is forecast to be 2% stronger than last year, domestic traveler volumes are expected to remain well below pre-pandemic levels. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays are likely the catalyst.

“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” said Haas. “But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn’t mean you have to abandon your vacation plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent, who can help plan for the unexpected — like a flight cancelation. They are your best advocate.”

Nationwide, travel volumes follow similar trends. AAA forecasts that 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. This is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019. Nationally, auto travel is also forecast to set new records.

Once again, the biggest change is in bus, rail or cruise traveling, which is expected to be 167.9% higher this year than last.

Travel prices are higher this year.

  • Air: AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than it was last year, coming in at $201 per ticket.
  • Hotels: Mid-range hotel rates are about 23% more than they were last year, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244 per night for AAA Approved Hotels.
  • Gas prices: Florida gas prices are 64% more expensive than last year. Although gas prices appear to be declining, prices at the pump on Independence Day are likely to be the most expensive for the holiday in history. In recent years, the state average price on the July 4th holiday was $3.01 (2021) and $2.68 (2019). On Monday, the state average was $4.81 per gallon.
  • Car rentals: The average lowest daily car rental rate is $110 per day. While 34% lower than last year, daily car rental rates are $40 per day more than in 2019.
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