Red, White and Boom! AAA Projects 5 Percent Jump in Fourth of July Travel

Nearly 830,000 Arizonans will celebrate Independence Day away from home

Phoenix, Ariz., June 19, 2012. Fireworks are flying for the travel industry this Independence day, as AAA is projecting the highest travel volume since 2007.

According to AAA, nearly 830,000 Arizonans are projected to travel 50 or more miles from home over the Fourth of July holiday. Nationwide, 42.3 million Americans will travel. These figures mark a 5 percent increase over last year both state and nationwide.

“This year, the Fourth of July falls in the middle of the week which affords travelers more flexibility with their plans,” said Amy Moreno, director of travel services for AAA Arizona. “Travelers will extend their weekend into the holiday and take longer trips that are further from home. This is the driving force behind the travel increase we’re forecasting this year.”

Top trends from AAA’s 2012 Independence Day forecast among Arizonans include:

  • Road trips still traveler’s choice. More than 650,000 Arizonans — or nearly eight out of 10 — travelers intend to drive to their destination. This represents an increase of 3.8 percent from last year. Road trips remain the most economical way for families – which will make up 32 percent of travelers this holiday – to get away. And though the statewide fuel average is slightly above last year, pump prices have fallen nearly 20 cents since Memorial Day.

  • Air travel jumps 9 percent, boosts trip distance. Flexibility in travel dates this holiday means more travelers will opt to fly to their destination, increasing trip distance. In fact, nearly a quarter of Arizona travelers are expected to travel more than 1,500 miles roundtrip. The average distance traveled for Arizonans this holiday is 826 miles, up 10 percent over last year.  

  • Arizona tourism thrives. By the end of this year, the total output from the leisure and hospitality industry in the Mountain region is expected to rise by 2.5 percent over 2011. Arizona is leading this charge with the largest increase – 3.4 percent – in tourism since the end of 2011. This includes revenue generated within the state on dining, entertainment as well as Arizonans taking advantage of discounted resort rates, such as those offered by AAA Four and Five Diamond properties.  

  • Spending plummets 37 percent. Arizonans traveling this holiday are projected to spend an average of $648, down nearly 40 percent from last year. This underscores the trend that AAA Travel has seen all year: People are traveling, but are finding new, inventive ways to economize trips.

“Arizonans have a strong appetite to travel this summer,” said Moreno. “However, travelers are continuing to be creative with planning so they can maximize vacation budgets.”

AAA offers a variety of mobile travel resources including free apps for iPhone and Android users. AAA apps use GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby member discounts, summon roadside assistance, find current gas prices and more. Travelers can learn more about these resources at AAA.com/mobile.

Research for Fourth of July travel projections are derived from IHS Global Insight, which conducts special research for AAA. The Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more during the five day period from Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.