Forty-two million travelers predicted for July 4 holiday

Forty-two million travelers predicted for July 4 holiday
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AAA is predicting that nearly 42 million U.S. residents will travel at least 50 miles away from home over the upcoming July Fourth holiday weekend. 

The estimate — officially 41.9 million — is a 0.7 percent increase over 2014 travel for the holiday weekend, which is defined by the auto club as the period between July 1-5. 

AAA said the anticipated travel for 2015 would be the highest number of July Fourth travelers in eight years if the prediction is accurate. 

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“This Independence Day, more people will get in their cars, board airplanes, and take buses, trains and cruise ships to celebrate our nation’s freedom with friends and family," AAA President Marshall Doney said in a statement. 

“Students all across the nation are also celebrating freedom from homework, making this an ideal time for a family vacation," he continued. "Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007.”

Doney attributed part of the predicted increase in July Fourth travel to gas prices that are nearly $1 per gallon lower than they were at this point in 2014, despite "seasonal increases" that have raised prices at the pump above record lows during the winter. 

"Although some consumers are using their recent savings on gas to pay down debt and save, overall, Americans are planning to travel in record numbers,” Doney said, citing an 88-cent dip in the average price of a gallon of regular gas.  

“Independence Day gas prices are expected to be the lowest in at least five years, a welcome sign for the 35.5 million people planning a holiday road trip,” Doney continued. 

The auto club predicted that 35.5 million of the anticipated July Fourth travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations, up 0.7 percent from last year. 

Another 3.2 million people are predicted to be flying to their destination, which AAA said would be 1.5 percent increase over last year's air travel figures. Those airline passengers will be facing airfares that are predicted to be $227, which is 6 percent higher than last year.

Hotel prices, meanwhile, are estimated to have risen to about $145 per night, which AAA said is about 6 percent higher than last year.