TAMPA – Travel for the Independence Day weekend is expected to decrease nationwide, by 1.3 percent compared with last year, resulting in 40.4 million Americans traveling a distance of at least 50 miles from home, according to AAA.
In the Southeastern U.S., holiday travel by car is also projected to decline by 1.3 percent while travel by air is expected to drop by 2 percent.
In Florida, more than 2.3 million people are projected to drive and another 200,000 say they will travel by plane.
“Our Independence Day holiday brings a great opportunity for families to enjoy a three-day weekend and we expect a great many will head to the beaches, theme parks and community gatherings especially to enjoy fireworks displays,” said Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president, AAA Auto Club South.
Bakewell added that even though there may be a slight decrease in the number of travelers, more than 13 percent of the nation’s population is projected to travel and that means we should anticipate a noticeable increase in traffic on the interstate highways this weekend.
Current fuel prices in Florida are approximately $1.10 more per gallon than they were last year, according to AAA.
The rising cost of gasoline is believed to be contributing to an increase in train travel. Karina Romero, manager of media relations for Amtrak, reports that the volume of passengers nationwide from October 2007 through May of 2008 is up by nearly 11 percent over the same period from the prior year.
AAA’s Leisure Travel Index shows hotel rates for AAA-rated Three Diamond properties are unchanged from last year, however; and airfares have increased by 13 percent over last year. Car rental rates are about 12 percent higher than last year in many major cities.
Research for holiday travel is based on a survey of more than 2,000 adults by the Travel Industry Association, which conducts special research for AAA.