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Monday May 20th, 2019 4:47AM

AAA: Independence Day travelers to set new record

By AccessWDUN staff

AAA forecasts more Americans will travel this Independence Day than ever before. A record-breaking 44.2 million Americans (1.3 million Georgians) will take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways; an increase of 1.3 million Americans (52,000 Georgians) from last year’s holiday.

“This Independence Day will be historic,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Traveler numbers are up and prices are down, adding to what has already been a bustling summer travel season.

“Travel bookings at The Auto Club Group are up more than 7% in Georgia , compared to this time last year. The biggest factors driving growth are low gas prices, strong employment, rising incomes, and higher consumer confidence; but overall Americans just love to travel, and want to do something fun for this mid-summer tradition.”

Most-Traveled Summer Holiday

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. Independence Day is usually the most-traveled of the “big 3” summer holidays. While Memorial and Labor Day holidays often attract a similar number of total travelers, Independence Day commonly attracts 12-13 percent more.

“More people travel for Independence Day, because it falls in the middle of summer when school is out,” Evans said. “Families can easily plan extended vacations for this holiday without worrying about school calendars.”

*Gas Prices to Boost Travel Numbers

Gas prices remain slightly below year-ago levels, another factor driving the increase in travelers this Independence Day. During last year’s holiday, gas prices averaged $2.27 nationwide.

Low oil prices and increased production have kept gas prices competitive with last summer’s rates, which were the lowest since 2004. On Wednesday, June 21, the national average price for a gallon of gas was $2.28. The Georgia average was $2.14. Find today's average gas prices

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 2017 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

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