The Automobile Club of Southern California is projecting a slight increase in July Fourth holiday travel compared to 2014. More than 2.98 Southern California residents are expected to take an Independence Day vacation – one-half of one percent higher than the numbers who traveled during last year’s holiday.
Despite the small travel increase, this year’s holiday is expected to have the highest number of July Fourth travelers since 2007, when 3 million Southland residents and 4.88 million statewide took holiday trips.
Seventy-nine percent of Southern California travelers, or 2.4 million, are expected to drive to their holiday destinations – an increase of 0.4 percent from last year’s 2.2 million car travelers. Another 355,000 are expected to go by air – an increase of 1.4 percent from 2014’s 338,000 air travelers.
Statewide, 4.8 million are expected to travel over the Independence Day holiday, also a one-half percent increase from last year, with 3.69 million going by car (up 0.4 percent from 2014) and 573,000 going by air (up 1.4 percent).
Nationally, Fourth of July travel is expected to increase by 0.7 percent to 41.9 million from last year’s 41.6 million.
“There is a continued overall increase in the amount being spent for travel this summer because consumers have confidence in their ability to afford vacations,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “While the number of travelers is not increased greatly overall this Fourth of July, the summer vacation season is doing very well.”
According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday are:
1) Las Vegas
2) San Diego
3) San Francisco
4) California Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
5) (tie) Grand Canyon/Yosemite
For travelers going by car, gas prices are about 60 cents below those of this time last year, making a July Fourth road trip a little more affordable. The California state average gas price is $3.45, and most local gas stations are charging less than $3.50 a gallon. Neighboring state gas prices are even lower (about $2.70 a gallon in Arizona and $3.20 in Nevada).
The July Fourth holiday forecast was conducted by IHS Global Insight on behalf of AAA. Historical travel data is provided by DK Shifflet, the world’s most comprehensive consumer travel measurement provider.