July 4 Holiday Weekend Will Have Huge Travel Figures
Gas prices are currently at their lowest levels for July 4 in the past 11 years and travel experts are predicting that over 43 million people will travel during the weekend. Travel adviser AAA said the number of travels will be the highest since 2001 when they started tracking this type of data.
Close to six of every 10 travelers will take vacations of four nights or more, according to marketing data released on the Internet.
With strong consumer sentiment and the holiday on Monday, the three-day weekend has resulted in many hotels and resorts being sold out for as many as five straight nights.
Despite the sellout weekend at many places, the average prices for hotels that are AAA 3-diamond and 2-diamond are lower this year by 5% and 1% respectively, compared to one year ago, said a spokesperson for the travel adviser.
With gas prices thus far handing American consumers over $20 billion worth of savings for 2016 compared to prices in 2015, many travelers have decided to spend their money.
The outlook for prices of gas is not positive for every location in the U.S. Increases in gas-tax will take effect in Maryland and the state of Washington on Friday. In New Jersey, an increase is being weighed in gas-tax that would increase to 37.5 cents a gallon from the current 14.5 cents a gallon to help fund needed road improvements.
Although the measures in New Jersey would be paired with legislation to lower the sales tax in the state to 6% from 7%, the increase in gas-tax could weigh down travel in the state.
However, for the majority of regions across the country, vacationers have decided to travel more during their scheduled road trips. Close to 84% of travelers for Independence Day weekend will be driving, which is an increase of 1.2% from last year said AAA.
A downside for some destinations in the U.S. is the strong dollar. That makes it more expensive for tourists visiting from outside the U.S. thus fewer travel or those who do travel spend less money.
A number of locations across the country rely on foreign tourists for their sales at not just the hotel and restaurant level but in retail as well.
For instance, many Canadians travel by car into the U.S. but with exchange rates being less favorable the past 18 months, fewer are traveling south of the border into the U.S. than in the past.