AAA: Fourth of July holiday travelers expected to increase 19.1 percent in Mountain States
June 28, 2010
AAA Colorado projects the number of Americans in the Mountain States, which includes Colorado, will increase 19.1 percent from 2009, with approximately 2.75 million travelers taking a trip of at least 50 miles away from home. Nationwide, the number of travelers is projected to increase 17.1 percent over 2009 with 34.9 million Americans travelling from Thursday, July 1, to Monday, July 5. These figures show a healthy recovery in July 4 travel after steep declines on number of travelers in both 2008 and 2009.
Car and air trips increase
Trips by automobile are expected to increase in popularity in the Mountain States with 2.43 million people reaching their destination by driving. This is a 19.9 percent increase from last Fourth of July. AAA expects that the Colorado average price of self-service regular gasoline will be similar to last year, between $2.60-$2.70 per gallon. This compares to the 2008 prices of just over $4 per gallon.
Leisure air travel is also expected to grow slightly in the Mountain States with 140,000 holiday flyers expected. This would be an increase of 9.9 percent from one year ago.
AAA Colorado cautions that the Fourth of July marks the busiest travel holiday for emergency roadside service calls. As temperatures rise, vehicles are put to the test. Without preventive maintenance the summer heat increases the likelihood of a motorist experiencing a vehicle failure.
Batteries can be especially affected by heat. Last year AAA Colorado had 291 battery related calls over the Fourth of July weekend. Roadside assistance calls that weekend also included 251 for tire service and 331 motorists locked out of their vehicles.
To decrease the likelihood of a breakdown, AAA Colorado recommends motorists have their vehicle serviced regularly based on the manufacture’s recommended schedule and identify a quality repair shop.
AAA offers a free public service to help consumers find quality auto repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment and customer service. Motorists can search for a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair shop online at AAA.com/repair.
Average distance of 926 miles with $579 in spending
The average distance traveled by Americans in the Mountain States this Fourth of July weekend is forecast to be 926 miles, more than 300 miles greater than the national average (617 miles). Median spending in the Mountain States is estimated to be $579, with 26 percent of spending going toward reaching the destination and 74 percent spent at the destination.
Airfares, hotel and rental car rates increase
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares over the Fourth of July holiday weekend are expected to increase 13 percent nationwide compared to 2009. Air passengers will pay an average of $192 for a round-trip ticket. It is important to note that fares for 2009 dropped 16 percent and, in spite of the increase in 2010, fares are still below the average from two years ago. Weekend daily car rental rates will increase 4 percent to an average of $54. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are also expected to increase 4 percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night.
AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. Mountain States included in the research are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. AAA Colorado has more than 530,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. AAA can be visited on the Internet at http://www.AAA.com.