Independence Day travel nears all-time high

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 8:35 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -More than 47.7 million Americans will take to the nation’s roadway and skies this Independence Day, marking the second-highest travel volume on record.

This number is up 40% over last and down 2.5% percent from the overall record set in 2019.

“Travel is back this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue vacations they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA - The Auto Club Group. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off to summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day.”

The 676,000 Coloradans expected to travel by car this Independence Day will find the most expensive gas prices since 2014. Colorado gas prices currently sit at an average of $3.31, which is well above the national average of $3.07 per gallon. Drivers passing through Vail will pay most per gallon at $3.64. The Boulder-Longmont region has the lowest gas prices at $3.26. Prices are expected to rise steadily ahead of the Independence Day travel period.

Air volumes over the holiday will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels with 3.5 million Americans planning to fly.

On average airfares for the holiday have declined 2% compared to last Independence Day. The lowest average price per ticket is $175. This price is $4 less than last year and $13 less than the 2019 holiday weekend.

Denver is coming in at the number three spot in the top of travel booking data.

“As a general proposition, Westerners should expect to be victims of our own success as we emerge from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” McKinley said. “It’s no secret that we live where other people want to be, and that’s going to mean higher gas prices, extra traffic, and busy, booked-up travel properties throughout the summer. Increased travel spending here, of course, will give us a leg up as we look to build the longer-term, post-covid economy.”

As demand climbs, so do the prices. Travelers can expect to pay significantly more for hotels and car rentals this year over last. In Denver, prices are skyrocketing, with travelers paying more than double what they would have per night last year. According to AAA booking data, Denver is second to Miami in nightly hotel costs over the Independence Day period.

Daily car rental rates have also increased to 86 percent over last year’s numbers, topping out at $166.

During the holiday travel period AAA expects to rescue more than 460,000 Americans at roadside, the vast majority stranded due to preventable breakdown. So you don’t contribute to that number plan your route in advance and check that your car is road trip ready.

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