More than 47 million Americans are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to a forecast from AAA, the latest indication summer travel has come roaring back.
Of the 47.7 million Americans who will likely travel from July 1 to July 5, the overwhelming majority – 43.6 million of them – will be traveling by car, according to the forecast. An additional 3.5 million people are expected to fly, bringing airlines back to 90% of pre-pandemic traffic.
Americans are so eager to get away, AAA predicts this Fourth of July holiday weekend will see the second-highest number of travelers on record, only surpassed by 2019 when 48.9 million people traveled. The forecast far outpaces 2020 when only 34.2 million Americans traveled for a Fourth of July vacation.
And the numbers are even higher than this year's Memorial Day weekend when 37 million Americans were predicted to travel.
"Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they've deferred for the last year-and-a-half," Paula Twidale, the senior vice president, AAA Travel, said in a statement. "We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow."
The cities topping the list for July 4th getaways are Orlando, Fla., Anaheim, Calif., and Denver, Colo., according to the group.
For those who plan to drive, AAA says the best time to hit the road is anytime on Sunday, July 4; Thursday, July 1, after 7 p.m.; Friday, July 2, before 12 p.m.; Saturday, July 3, after 2 p.m.; or Monday, July 5, before 1 p.m.
The holiday weekend predictions come as more and more people have been traveling, taking advantage of vaccine rollouts and relaxed international border restrictions. In fact, more than 4 million people passed through U.S. airports this weekend, according to the Transportation Security Administration, which has seen multiple days of more than 2 million passengers throughout June.
Americans aren't just ready to travel, they also appear likely to spend big bucks when they do. U.S. travelers are forecast to spend $153.7 billion on summer vacations this year, about 50% more than they spent in 2019, according to a recent study from Allianz Partners USA.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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