Independence Day will be the busiest on record in Tennessee, as travel volumes continue to trend upwards with no sign of slowing down. AAA predicts over 1 million Tennesseans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4). That’s 3% more than last year’s holiday, and is likely to set a new travel record in Tennessee for Independence Day.
“The volume of travelers expected over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it’s not tapering off. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much needed vacation.”
While all modes of transportation are forecast to be stronger than last year, the biggest surprise is auto travel. Despite record high gas prices, AAA forecasts over 945,000 Tennesseans will take a holiday road trip – the most on record, dating back to 2001.
Although air travel is forecast to be nearly 2% stronger than last year, domestic traveler volumes are expected to remain just slightly below pre-pandemic levels. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays are likely the catalyst.
“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” continued Haas. “But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn’t mean you have to abandon your vacation plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent who can help plan for the unexpected – like a flight cancelation. They are your best advocate.”
Nationwide Travel Volumes
Nationwide, travel volumes follow similar trends. AAA forecasts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. This is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019. Nationally, auto travel is also forecast to set new records.
Travel Prices are Higher than Last Year
- Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than last year coming in at $201/ticket.
- Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates are about 23% more than last year, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
- Gas Prices—Independence Day gas prices are forecast to be the most expensive for the holiday in history. Pump prices are about 60% more expensive than a year ago. On Monday, the state average was $4.59. During recent years, the state average on July 4th was $2.88 (2021) and $1.94 (2019).
- Car Rentals— Since last year, the average daily rate for car rentals have continued to increase. With more people traveling, these prices remain on the rise due to continued supply chain issues coupled with growing demand. While daily car rental rates have decreased 34% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $110/day, rates are $40 more/day on average than in 2019.