New Record: 810,000 Coloradans Traveling for the 4th
Super strong state economy amplifying national travel trends in Colorado
DENVER (June 27, 2018) – Record smashed: Nearly 810,000 Coloradans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday, an increase of seven percent from last year and the highest number since AAA Colorado began tracking 18 years ago. The vast majority -- nearly 650,000 -- will drive, adding to the ranks of the 39.7 million Americans planning a Fourth of July road trip. All told, nearly 47 million Americans will be taking to the nation's roads, skies, rails, and waterways this travel period, which runs from Tuesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 8.
"Everything that's making 2018 a record year for travel nationally is amplified in Colorado," said Skyler McKinley, AAA Colorado spokesman. "With one of the lowest unemployment rates ever recorded in any state's history, consumer confidence is high. The bottom line: If you've got even a little disposable income in 2018, the odds are good that you're using it to travel."
In addition to strong economic boosts to travel, the expected increase in travelers this year is driven by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday.
Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday
Per data from AAA Colorado and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, drivers can expect the worst congestion over the holiday week on Tuesday, July 3 in the late afternoon -- as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Travel times could increase two-fold in major metros across the country. While drivers in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C., will experience the most significant delays, Denver drivers should budget extra travel time throughout the travel period. That's because four of the top five domestic travel destinations this year are in the American West, and Colorado sits at the crossroads of I-25 and I-70 -- two of the country's most traveled north/south and east/west highways, respectively.
Gas Prices Starting to Stabilize
Gas prices have slowly but steadily started to fall since the 2018 national high of $2.97 per gallon set over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the national gas price has dropped 13 cents to $2.84, which is 60 cents higher than one year ago. In Colorado, drivers can expect to pay an average of $2.83 per gallon, with Vail sporting the highest price at $3.15 and Denver the lowest at $2.75. Motorists can expect slight increases due to increased demand over the course of the Independence Day travel period, but no matter: The price of gas isn't dissuading anyone from traveling, per analysis from AAA.
Travelers Paying Less for Airfare, More for Car Rentals & Hotels
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year. However, travelers can expect to pay more to rent a car and stay at mid-range hotels this Independence Day. At $66, the average daily cost of a car rental is a slight increase of two percent over last year. The average nightly rate at AAA Two Diamond hotels is $147, 11 percent more than last year, while AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, a two percent year-over-year increase.
Nationwide, AAA to Rescue More than 362,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside around the Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid-level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. Need a good mechanic? Find one at AAA.com/repair.
About the forecast
AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider first teamed up with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.
About AAA Colorado
More than 680,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most prominent advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit aaa.com.