Kingsport Times-News: Independence Day travel expected to break record
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Independence Day travel expected to break record

Staff Report • Jul 2, 2019 at 10:15 PM

NASHVILLE — More Americans than ever recorded by AAA — nearly 49 million — are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year.

Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday.

For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times longer than their normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3, being the worst day on the roads.

In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong, according to AAA. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.

“As Independence Day approaches, more Americans than ever are traveling for the holiday, with the vast majority setting out on a road trip,” said Stephanie Milani, Tennessee public affairs director for AAA, in a press release. “Moreover, a record number of Tennesseans will also travel for the holiday — an increase of 4.7% over last year — bringing the expected number of Tennesseans traveling to more than 985,000.”

Total travelers

• Nationwide: 48.9 million (4.1% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 985,000 (4.7% more than last year)

Automobiles

• Nationwide: 41.4 million (4.3% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 892,000 (4.9% more than last year)

Planes

• Nationwide: 3.96 million (5.3% more than last year and the highest number on record)

• Tennessee: 44,000 (5.75% more than last year)

Trains, buses and cruise ships

• Nationwide: 3.55 million (0.6% more than last year)

• Tennessee: 50,000 (1% more than last year)

Travel costs

Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will go toward other travel costs this holiday, which are trending higher.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily.

To the rescue

AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

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