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July 4th travel expected to hit highest level in years

July 4th travel expected to hit highest level in years
Posted June 27th, 2014 @ 5:07am by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- AAA expects 41 million Americans, including 1.67 million Ohioans, to travel at least 50 miles from home this Independence Day holiday weekend. That's an increase of 1.9 percent nationwide and 1.7 percent for Ohio from 2013.

"Nearly 14 percent more Americans and 19 percent more Ohioans plan on traveling this holiday than during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, since school is out and many families take their big summer trip during this time," said AAA Ohio's Kimberly Schwind.

Consumers have been hesitant to add to their credit card balances the past several years, but improvements in the employment picture and rising home values have caused many to feel more comfortable about taking on credit card debt.

The vast majority of travelers will drive to their destinations this Independence Day. This is the highest volume since 2007.

While gas prices have been high recently, they are not expected to have a significant impact on people’s decision to travel, since travel plans have already been made. 

"To compensate for the high fuel cost, some travelers may cut back in other areas, such as activities or dining," Schwind said. 

Gas prices averaged $3.48 nationally and $3.40 in Ohio on July 4, 2013.

Another 3.1 million Americans, including more than 76,000 Ohioans, will travel by air this holiday. This is a 1 percent increase nationally and 2.5 percent increase in Ohio and marks the highest volume since 2004 nationally and since 2007 in Ohio. The average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes is down 5 percent from last year to $215 for the holiday travel period.

Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase 9 percent from a year ago to an average of $178 per night, compared to $164 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen 15 percent to an average of $137 per night.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

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