Businesses should get ready for a little holiday boost as Americans travel to celebrate Independence Day. AAA projects that 41 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles to celebrate the long 4th of July weekend this year (from Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6).
Just over 40 million Americans traveled for the 4th of July last year, 1.9% fewer than what is expected for this year. AAA’s projected number of travelers is also 14% higher than the number of people who traveled for Memorial Day.
More than eight out of every ten travelers plan on driving to their 4th of July travel destination. Though car rental costs are pretty much the same now as they were this time last year, gas prices have increased by about 20 cents, according to AAA.
About 3.1 million Americans will travel by air for Independence Day, about 1% more than last year. Cost of airfare is about 5% less than it was around the 4th of July last year.
Even after the 4th of July, summer travel is expected to increase by 11% this year, according to a survey by travel company Orbitz.com. Eighty-eight percent of Americans plan to take a summer vacation.
An increase in travel provide a boost to other businesses, as travelers plan to spend money while they are away. More than half of the people surveyed said they planned to spend $2000 or more on their summer trips, up from 44% in 2013.
AAA says that the increased travel spending is not from income increases, but from Americans being more willing to use their credit cards than they have been in recent years.
No matter what reason is causing more Americans to travel this summer, Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. told Bloomberg that it is a good economic sign.
“Stronger business travel and tourism is a very good barometer of the health of the broader economy,” Zandi said in the Bloomberg article. “Spending on travel is more discretionary and expensive. The revival in travel is thus a good sign that the economic recovery is gaining traction.”