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Auto Club: Independence Day Holiday Travel Expected To Reach Record-Breaking Levels

Air Travel Will Experience Largest Passenger Increases

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Independence Day 2024 travel forecast soundbites in English from Auto Club Spokesperson Gianella Ghiglino

Independence Day 2024 travel forecast soundbites in Spanish from Auto Club Spokesperson Anlleyn Venegas

The Automobile Club of Southern California expects local travel over the extended Independence Day travel period* to create an all-time record for this holiday. About 5.4 million Southern Californians are expected take getaways over this Fourth of July period, which is 5.2% higher than last year and 5.8% high than in 2019 before the pandemic. Nationally, nearly 71 million people are expected to travel, also a new record for the holiday. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the nine-day period from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7.

“This Fourth of July holiday is continuing the trend started over Memorial Day with new record levels of travel,” said Jena Miller, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products and services. “The biggest increase this holiday is in flight vacations, which are expected to jump by 13% over last year with slightly cheaper domestic airfares. Nearly 80% of Southern California travelers are expected to drive, while 14% will fly and 6% will take a bus, train or cruise.”

By the Numbers

SoCal travel volume July 4 2024
US travel volume - ACSC July Fourth

Top Destinations

While most Southern Californians will be traveling to the typical popular driving-distance destinations such as San Diego, Las Vegas, the Central Coast, and national parks, the top air travel destinations for local residents based on Auto Club travel bookings for the holiday period are:


  • Oahu, HI
  • Orlando, FL
  • Seattle, WA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Portland, OR



  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Bahamas
  • Greece
  • United Kingdom


Gas Prices, Vacation Costs, and Travel Trends and Tips

  • Gas prices are slightly lower in Southern California than at this time last year in most locations after two straight months of price drops that may be tapering off.


  • Car rentals, domestic airfares, and both domestic and international tours and cruises are less expensive than at this time last year, while international airfares are up by 7%, domestic hotel rates are up by 17% and international hotel rates are 14% higher than at this time last year.


  • For the majority of travelers who are driving to their destinations, AAA strongly recommends a pre-trip vehicle checkup by a trusted mechanic. AAA expects to come to the rescue of more than 185,000 California motorists and nearly 800,000 drivers nationwide over the July Fourth travel period. Visit to find a trusted local AAA-Approved Auto Repair facility.

The Auto Club recommends air travelers to:

  • Arrive at the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures.
  • Reserve airport parking ahead of time.
  • Check in online at home to avoid long lines in terminals.
  • Download your airline’s app to be notified immediately of any flight changes.
  • Consider applying for TSA PreCheck if you’re a frequent traveler.

The Auto Club recommends drivers taking road trips to:

  • Get at least seven hours of sleep before driving to avoid drowsiness behind the wheel.
  • Ensure everyone wears a seatbelt for the entire trip.
  • Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. Remember that driving distracted can be just as deadly as driving while impaired.
  • Pack snacks, bottled water, phone chargers and an emergency roadside kit.

Best and Worst Times to Travel

Because travel will be spread over a nine-day period, the traffic analytics firm INRIX expects less overall traffic congestion during the July Fourth holiday compared to three-day holiday weekends. The busiest times to travel outbound in Southern California will likely be the afternoons and evenings of July3, July 4, and July 5, and the most congestion is expected on the afternoon of Monday, July 8 with drivers returning south on Interstate 5 between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. That drive is expected to take nearly two hours at that time, compared to the normal travel time of about an hour and twenty minutes.

*Independence Day Holiday Travel Period

For this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the nine-day period from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7. Historically, the Independence Day holiday period included only one weekend. This is the first year the Independence Day holiday travel period is a longer timeframe with two weekends included.

About AAA

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 62 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit

About INRIX  

Founded in 2004, INRIX pioneered intelligent mobility solutions by transforming big data from connected devices and vehicles into mobility insights. This revolutionary approach enabled INRIX to become one of the leading providers of data and analytics into how people move. By empowering cities, businesses, and people with valuable insights, INRIX is helping to make the world smarter, safer, and greener. With partners and solutions spanning across the entire mobility ecosystem, INRIX is uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology and transportation – whether it’s keeping road users safe, improving traffic signal timing to reduce delay and greenhouse gasses, optimizing last mile delivery, or helping uncover market insights. Learn more at



Media Contacts

Anlleyn Venegas
Public Affairs Specialist. English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(619) 565-4556

Gianella Ghiglino
Public Affairs Specialist English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(818) 939-9851

Marie Montgomery
(714) 420-0477 (cell)

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.