A record-breaking number of New Englanders area residents will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Fourth of July. More than 2.43 million area travelers will set a new travel record for the Independence Day holiday weekend. The Fourth of July falls midweek this year, many will treat it like it is a six-day holiday weekend. Given the magnitude of New Englanders traveling this Fourth of July, holiday getaway traffic will be at its worse during the afternoon rush hour Tuesday, July 3, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m
“This Independence Day will be one for the record books, as more Americans take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways than ever before,” said Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England “Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season.”
New England Travel Forecast
- AAA projects 2.43 million New Englanders will travel this Independence Day an increase of 5.6 percent. This is the highest memorial Day travel forecasted since 2005.
- Automobiles: Drivers in New England are forecasted to exceed the national average and see an increase of 5.6 percent from 2.1 million to 1.99 million
- Planes: Holiday air travel is expected to increase 8.1 percent to 177,00 leisure travelers.
- Trains, Buses, Rails and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 4.8 percent to 152,000 passengers.
By the Numbers: 2018 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast
- Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 39.7 million – will hit the road this Independence Day, 5.1 percent more than last year.
- Planes: A record-breaking 3.8 million people will travel by air, a 7.9 percent increase and the ninth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 5.8 percent to a total of 3.5 million passengers.
Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion over the holiday week on Tuesday, July 3 in the late afternoon – as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Travel times could increase two-fold in the major metros across the U.S., with drivers in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. experiencing the most significant delays.
“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” says Scott Sedlik, general manager and vice president - public sector, INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”
Gas Prices Starting to Stabilize Heading into Independence Day
Gas prices have slowly but steadily started to fall since the 2018 high of $2.97 set over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the national gas price has dropped twelve cents to $2.85 (as of June 28), which is 60 cents more than one year ago. However, the higher prices are having little effect on travelers this Independence Day, with record number of travelers still planning to hit the road this year.
New England Gas Prices
- Vermont’s average current price is $2.93 per gallon, which is 1 cent lower than one week ago, 3 cents lower than one month ago and 60 cents higher than one year ago.
- New Hampshire’s average current price is $2.82 per gallon, which is 2 cents lower than one week ago. 9 cents lower than one month ago and 62 cents higher than one year ago.
- Maine’s current price is $2.83 per gallon, which is 4 cents lower than one week ago, 13 cents lower than month ago, and 59 cents higher than one year ago.
Travelers Paying Less for Airfare, More for Car Rentals and Hotels
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year.
However, travelers can expect to pay more to rent a car and stay at mid-range hotels this Independence Day. At $66, the average daily cost of a car rental is a slight increase of 2 percent over last year. The average nightly rate at AAA Two Diamond hotels is $147, 11 percent more than last year, while AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, a 2 percent year-over-year increase.
AAA to Rescue More Than 362,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside around the Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
Download the AAA Mobile App Before Independence Day
Before heading out on a trip for Independence Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained inspectors to evaluate each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 19 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and serves as an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Northern New England can be visited on the Internet at aaa.com