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AAA: Seattle Top Destination and Worst Traffic for Independence Day Holiday

June 21, 2018

Nearly 47 Million Americans Will Set New Independence Day Holiday Travel Record

BELLEVUE, Wash. (June 21, 2018) – A record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday, an increase of more than 5 percent compared with last year and the highest number since AAA started tracking 18 years ago. Seattle is the third most popular destination for domestic travel. For those driving around the Seattle area during the holiday can expect bad traffic. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. and expects Seattle’s traffic to be 1.8 times normal on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 3.

“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 Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season.”

In addition to strong economic variables, the expected increase in travelers this year is helped by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday. The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.

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.

Worst Days/Times to Travel

Metro Area

Worst Day for Travel

Worst Time for Travel

Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip

San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, July 3

3:00 - 6:00 PM

1.7x

Seattle, WA

Tuesday, July 3

3:00 - 6:00 PM

1.8x

Detroit, MI

Tuesday, July 3

3:30 - 5:30 PM

1.6x

Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday, July 3

3:30 - 5:30 PM

2x

Boston, MA

Tuesday, July 3

3:30 - 6:30 PM

1.8x

New York, NY

Tuesday, July 3

3:30 - 6:30 PM

2.3x

Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, July 3

4:00 - 6:00 PM

1.6x

Chicago, IL

Tuesday, July 3

4:00 - 6:00 PM

1.7x

Washington, DC

Tuesday, July 3

4:00 - 6:00 PM

2.1x

Houston, TX

Tuesday, July 3

4:30 - 6:30 PM

1.8x

 

 

 

Source: INRIX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gas Prices Starting to Stabilize Heading into Independence Day
Locally, gas prices have stabilized after reaching a peak in early June. The current Washington state average is $3.45 per gallon, four cents higher than a month ago and 62 cents higher than this time last year. Other nearby state averages include: Idaho ($3.18), Montana ($2.95), Oregon ($3.31) and California ($3.69).

Nationally, gas prices have slowly started to fall since the 2018 high of $2.97 set over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the national gas price has dropped five cents to $2.92 (as of June 12), which is 57 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.

Travelers Paying Less for Airfare, More for Car Rentals and Hotels

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.

Theme Parks and Europe are Major Draws this Independence Day
This Independence Day, travelers will flock to theme parks in Orlando and southern California, while many others are heading west. Alaska cruises departing from Seattle, Anchorage and Vancouver round out the top five U.S. travel destinations for the holiday. For those venturing overseas, Europe is a major draw, with Rome, London, Dublin and Paris all making the list of top international travel destinations for Independence Day.

Top Domestic Travel Destinations

Top International Travel Destinations

  1.        Orlando, Florida
  1.        Rome, Italy
  1.        Anaheim, California
  1.        London, England
  1.        Seattle, Washington
  1.        Dublin, Ireland
  1.        Anchorage, Alaska
  1.        Vancouver, Canada
  1.        Honolulu, Hawaii
  1.        Paris, France

Source: AAA’s advance travel bookings

AAA to Rescue More Than 362,000 Motorists; 7,800 from Washington
AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside around the Independence Day holiday, with around 7,800 breaking down locally. 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.

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.

About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small. Learn more at INRIX.com.

AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its million plus members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.

Media Contacts

Jennifer Cook (425) 646-2055
JenniferCook@aaawa.com

Kelly Just (425) 467-7740
KellyJust@aaawa.com