Fourth of July travel expected to be heavy |

Fourth of July travel expected to be heavy

Over 3 million to travel, highest number in past five years

Not since 2007 have Mountain West residents seen such high numbers of Independence Day travelers. This year, AAA projects over 3.1 million Mountain West residents will make a mad dash out of town for this unusual midweek holiday. This represents a 4.8 increase over 2011, the highest number of travelers in the past five years.

According to AAA, during the upcoming Fourth of July celebration holiday, 54 percent of those surveyed are intending to begin their trip on Friday, June 29, 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.

The 4th of July marks one of the busiest national holidays of this decade. This year, AAA projects more than 2.4 million Mountain West residents drive to reach their holiday destinations. That’s a 3.6 percent increase when compared to 2011. Air travel will increase by 9.4 percent, with more than 331,000 travelers are expected to take to the skies to reach their holiday destinations.

Nationally, AAA forecasts just over 42 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, representing a 4.9 percent increase compared to last year.

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 Mountain West family of four is expected to spend an average of $648 over the weekend, while the average road trip will cover 826 miles.

According to AAA’s survey, the primary leisure activities for Mountain West residents celebrating the nation’s birthday will be visiting family and friends, touring and sightseeing, dining, going to beach/waterfront areas and shopping. Approximately 32 percent of Mountain West residents said they will be traveling with family members.

Information provided by AAA