Media Contact: Cynthia Harris
Emeryville, CA., June 26, 2012
Not since 2003 have Californians seen such high numbers of Independence Day travelers. This year, AAA projects over 4.8 million Californians will make a mad dash out of town for this unusual mid-week holiday. This number of travelers represents a 5.2 increase over 2011, the second highest number of travelers in the past ten years.
According to AAA, during the upcoming 4th of July celebration holiday, 54 percent of those surveyed are intending to begin their trip on Friday, June 29. That’s the week prior to the week of July 4th. This means many travelers will be enjoying a longer than normal holiday period of six days, which contributes to the higher volume of travelers.
“As summer begins, so does the appetite for travel,” says AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “The determination to travel, while economizing, has been the common trend over the past several years. Lower gas prices are also spurring more people to travel.”
The 4th of July is set to be one of the busiest national holidays of this decade. This year, AAA projects more than 3.8 million Californians will drive to reach their holiday destinations. That’s a four percent increase when compared to travel figures from 2011. Air travel will increase by 9.8 percent, with more than 570,000 travelers expected to take to the skies. More than 470,000 state residents plan to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, buses and watercraft. This represents an increase of 10 percent when compared to travel figures from last year.
Nationally, AAA forecasts just over 42 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the 4th of July holiday weekend, representing a 4.9 percent increase compared to last year.
Independence Day holiday weekend airfares are expected to remain unchanged, with the lowest round-trip rate averaging $200 per ticket to top 40 U.S. air routes, according to the AAA Leisure Travel Index. Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are increasing by four percent this year, averaging $164 per night. Weekend car rentals are also forecasted to increase by nine percent, to an average weekend rate of $40. A West Coast family of four is expected to spend an average of $807 over the weekend, while the average road trip will cover 684 miles.
According to AAA’s survey, the primary leisure activities for West Coast residents celebrating the nation’s birthday will be visiting family and friends, dining, going to beach/waterfront areas, and sightseeing. Approximately 33 percent of West Coast residents said they will be traveling with family members.
As part of AAA’s ongoing commitment to providing safety and protection to motorists, the AAA Tipsy Tow Program will offer a free tow for drinking drivers from 6:00 p.m. on July 4, until 6:00 a.m. on July 5, in Northern California, Nevada and Utah.
Members and non-members alike can call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow of up to ten miles. “Just tell the AAA operator, ‘I need a Tipsy Tow’, and a truck will be on its way,” said Harris. “Service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and his or her vehicle to the driver’s home.”
AAA Tips to Avoid Air Travel Delays
Avoid unnecessary frustration while flying, by following these defensive measures:
• Avoid delay-prone flights. Before you book, make sure you’re on a flight that has a decent arrival history.
• Know your airline. Avoid airlines that are known for labor disruptions or major instances where flights have been canceled.
• Book a nonstop. If you fly direct, you won’t get stuck in a connecting city.
• Fly mornings. Whenever possible, book the first flight of the day. Delays tend to worsen later in the day.
• Leave enough time for connections. Schedule at least one hour for a connection. Give yourself more time if you have to change planes and go through security again.
• Use small airports. Avoid airline hubs whenever possible. Secondary airports are usually less congested and less prone to delays.
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for 101 top North American destinations, free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from city titles, like Orlando, New York and the award-winning Las Vegas, as well as National Parks.
Free AAA apps for iPhone and Android devices use GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby member discounts, and find current gas prices. Travelers can learn about AAA apps and AAA Mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.
Projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed up with AAA as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.
AAA Travel is the nation’s largest travel organization. AAA Travel offers trips, cruises, tours and vacation packages throughout the world. Call (888) 937-5523 for more information or visit us at your local AAA Travel office or online at www.aaa.com/travel.
AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to nearly 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.
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