AAA Predicting Travel to Decline for Holiday
There will be fewer people on roads, beaches and airports to crowd Independence Day travelers, according to the latest travel forecast from AAA.
AAA is predicting a 2.5% decline in trips more than 50 miles from home during the July 4 travel period, which it defines as June 30-July 4. AAA believes about 39 million Americans will travel during the holiday weekend.
The predicted decline is a dramatic swing from the same time last year, when AAA forecast a 17.1% increase in July 4 travel.
Despite recent moderation in fuel prices, AAA attributes the change in travel plans to gas prices that are about $1 more per gallon more than a year ago. The organization says that, based on its survey conducted by IHS Global Insight, households with incomes of $50,000 or less will show the largest declines in holiday travel plans as fuel prices eat up a larger portion of their budgets.
Last year, households with incomes less than $50,000 accounted for 41% of all July 4 holiday trips; this year, the percentage is expected to be 33%. Households with incomes of more than $100,000 take up the slack, rising 9 percentage points this year to account for 35% of Independence Day travel.
The shift to a higher proportion of well-off travelers is likely responsible for the reported plans to increase holiday travel spending by about 25% over last year, to a median $807. AAA’s survey said higher spending is expected across the travel industry sector and is not attributable solely to higher fuel costs.