DETROIT (WWJ) – AAA Michigan says nearly 1.4 million of the state’s residents are planning to travel during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, defined as Wednesday, July 3, to Sunday, July 7.
Nationally, AAA projects 40.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 0.8 percent drop from last year. This year, July 3 and 7 are expected to be the busiest travel days.
The anticipated dip in travel is due to a shorter holiday period. Last year, when the patriotic holiday was on a Wednesday, many travelers extended their vacation plans to a week or longer.
In Michigan, the July 4th holiday period is traditionally the busiest time of year for the iconic family road trip. This year, an estimated 87 percent of travelers will go by vehicle — the same percent as last year, while five percent will fly and eight percent will go by bus or train.
Those traveling by vehicle will find Michigan gas prices 11 cents higher than last year –around $3.81.
The average distance traveled by Americans this Fourth of July holiday period is expected to be 613 miles, down 110 miles from last year and reflective of the shorter holiday. Median spending is expected to be $747, on par with last year. Transportation is expected to consume some 29 cents of every dollar. Travelers expect to spend 20 percent on meals, and 22 percent on lodging.
Many travelers said they will stay with friends or family and visit beaches and outdoor events. Michigan state campgrounds, lakes and resort areas will be busy this holiday, with colorful parades, snap-crackle-pop fireworks and summer festivals drawing visitors to cities across the state. Among the largest festivals is Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival, from June 29 through July 6, with some 500,000 visitors anticipated. Fishing derbies and boating activities add to the list of outdoor fun in many Michigan communities.
Those who opt to stay at hotels this holiday will find prices averaging $164 per night. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $58. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares increased six percent, with an average lowest round-trip rate of $228 for the top 40 U.S. air routes.
AAA reminds motorists to keep their mind on the task of driving. Michigan State Police report during last year’s July 4th holiday period, four people were killed in four traffic crashes. Although none of the crashes were alcohol-related, one crash involved a pedestrian, one motorist was unbelted and a motorcyclist and an ORV rider were not wearing helmets.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight.