Fourth of July road travel estimated to reach pre-pandemic levels: AAA

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Americans are hitting the road this Fourth of July. 

More than 47 million people across the country will embark on Independence Day travel between July 1 through July 5 with travel estimated to reach pre-pandemic levels, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

More than 47 million people across the country will embark on Independence Day travel between July 1 through July 5. (USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect)

Despite rising gas prices, 91% of holiday travel will be by car with an estimated 43.6 million Americans estimated to drive to their destinations. These numbers are the highest on record for the Fourth of July and up by 5% compared with the previous record from before the pandemic hit in 2019, according to AAA data. What’s more, 3.5 million people plan to fly, a 164% increase in flight travel, AAA said. 

"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, senior vice president of AAA Travel said in a statement, adding: "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." 

And more cars on the road mean Americans can expect some traffic delays, and for those renting, increased rental car rates at $166 per day, according to AAA. Indeed, traffic volumes are slated to increase to around 15% over normal times during the holiday weekend, according to INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue. 

After putting travel on the backburner during the summer holidays last year, Americans seem to be heading to theme parks in Orlando and Southern California with Orlando, Florida and Anaheim, California among the top two destinations booked, according to AAA's report. Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle round out the top five list of where many travelers are headed during the holiday weekend. 

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