Californians are ready to celebrate their freedom this Independence Day by taking the first summer holiday of the year. According to the latest AAA travel survey, just over 4.6 million Californians plan to journey at least 50 miles or more from home this upcoming holiday. This represents a 1.5% increase from 2013.
“Consumer confidence and steady economic improvement continue to be major factors for the overall increase in travel this year,” says Pablo O’Brien, VP Travel Products AAA Northern California. “With the Fourth of July weekend being the busiest summer travel holiday, we can expect increased airport congestion, highway backups and higher travel expenditures.”
AAA projects approximately 3.7 million Californians will drive to reach their holiday destinations. That’s a 2% increase when compared to travel figures from 2013. Air travel will decrease by 0. 2 % with more than 545,000 travelers expected to take to the skies. More than 400,000 state residents plan to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft. This represents a decrease of 0.6 % when compared to travel figures from last year.
Nationally, AAA forecasts more than 41 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, representing a 1.9% increase compared to last year.
Independence Day holiday weekend airfares are expected to decline by 5% with the lowest round-trip rate averaging $215 per ticket to the top 40 U.S. air routes, according to the AAA Leisure Travel Index. Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are increasing by 9 % this year, averaging $178 per night. Weekend car rentals are expected to remain at last year’s rates, with an average weekend rate of $58.
AAA recommends the following Road Trip Prep Guide for summer travel to help ensure safety, security and peace of mind.
AAA Before-You-Go Checklists:
· Emergency supplies: Make sure you keep a flashlight, batteries, first-aid-kit, bumper cables and a basic tool kit in your trunk.
· Cell phone and charger: Always pack a charger and load up your phone with emergency phone numbers you will need for your trip.
· Extra blanket and warm clothing: Always a good idea to keep extra clothing items in the trunk should you get stranded on the road in evening hours, or need extra warmth in vehicle.
· Travel itinerary: It is important that others know where you will be and when to expect you home, in case of any unexpected emergency.
· Secure your home: Make your house look lived-in while you are away.
AAA Safe-Breakdown-Behavior Tips:
· Move your vehicle off the road safely away from traffic.
· Stay inside your vehicle and make sure all passengers stay inside. Keep doors locked and roll down the window only enough to ask a passerby to call police, if needed.
· If you can’t move your vehicle off the road, ask all passengers to exit the vehicle when it is safe to do so, and stand away from traffic.
· If you must walk to a phone, keep your group together.
· Warn other drivers by raising the vehicle’s hood, tying a white cloth to a door handle, or using reflective triangles or flares. Warning devices should be placed far enough away from the vehicle to give oncoming traffic time to react.
AAA Safety-Behind-The-Wheel Tips:
· Stay alert: Avoid driving while tired.
· Belt it: Always wear seat belts and make sure children are buckled up in proper safety seats.
· Put down the phone: Focus on driving. Phone calls and texts can wait.
· Don’t stray: Stay on main roads and highways.
· Take a Break: When stopping to rest, always lock vehicles doors, even if you are gone for a few minutes. Keep valuables in the trunk.
· Call a Pro: Do not stop to help a disabled vehicle. It can be dangerous to be out on the road in traffic. Instead, call AAA for emergency road service.
AAA travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays.