More than 40.8 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from their homes during the five-day July Fourth holiday period starting Wednesday.
According to AAA, the estimate is a slight drop from last year’s 41.1 million travelers – the second-highest volume seen in the past 10 years. That holiday period covered six days, however.
“Although the travel numbers are about the same as last year’s, numerous surveys show more people plan to vacation this summer than last,” AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said. “It may just be that they are taking their trips at other
times throughout the summer.”
About 1.1 million of the travelers will hail from Georgia. South Carolina is anticipated to have about 471,300 travelers.
The Fourth of July tends to be the busiest summer holiday, and it’s also the deadliest holiday of the year because of increased drinking, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report.
Since 2010, the number of travelers for the July holiday has averaged about 40 million each year. The lowest amount in a 10-year period came in 2009 when there were less than 30 million travelers during the recession.
Holiday motorists in the Southeast likely will pay a little less at the pump than in recent weeks. Gas prices have dropped slightly but are still about 20 cents higher than the price per gallon this time last year. The average price per gallon in Georgia on Thursday was $3.40. South Carolina’s was $3.21.
“Although gas prices in the Southeast remained relatively stable from last week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see gas prices inch up slightly before the holiday weekend,” Brady said.
Previous holiday travel forecast surveys show travelers adjust spending on such things as dining and accommodations in reaction to increases in gas prices.
About 84 percent of the travelers, or 34.4 million, plan to travel by car this holiday. Nearly 8 percent will fly. July Fourth travelers are estimated to spend an average of $747, which is $2 short of last year’s average.