Albuquerque, NM (KKOB) — Summer travel is already in full swing and this Independence Day holiday period will be a busy one as AAA New Mexico predicts 3.4 million Mountain Region residents will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. This will be an increase of 4% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019. Road trips will still be the dominant form of travel even with record high gas prices as 2.8 million people will hit the road in the Mountain Region. With crowded streets and busy airports, AAA New Mexico wants to prepare travelers so they can have a stress-free July 4th celebration.
“With so much pent up demand for travel – the AAA travel forecast for this year’s Independence holiday has returned to nearly pre-pandemic levels,” said Thomas Kwiatek, Regional Manager, AAA New Mexico. “The volume of people taking trips has been on the rise since the beginning of this year and doesn’t show any signs of slowing. New Mexicans are ready to take that much needed vacation. We recommend working with a trusted travel advisor to find the best deals and times to travel.”
Despite record gas prices, automobile travel volume will break previous records on a national level. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancelations and delays may be driving this increase. In fact, the share of people traveling by air will be the lowest since 2011.
This Summer, Travel Stress-Free
Independence Day will be the second busiest since 2000, as travel volumes continue to trend upwards with no sign of slowing down. It is important travelers are prepared and flexible to minimize stress and enjoy the holiday. AAA offers the following advice:
- Have a plan A, B and C. Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability may be limited, which will impact pricing. Finding last-minute deals is unlikely so it’s recommended to look for discounts and rewards, usually available through a membership like AAA. This is also another time when travel advisors are a great resource since they may know of a deal that may not be readily available to the public.
- Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than last year coming in at $201/ticket.
- Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23%, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
- Car Rentals— Since last year, the average daily rate for car rentals have continued to increase. With more people traveling, these prices remain on the rise due to continued supply chain issues coupled with growing demand. While daily car rental rates have decreased 34% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $110/day, rates are $40 more/day on average than in 2019.
- B-E-T on a breakdown-free trip. AAA expects to respond to over 446,000 calls for roadside assistance over the Independence Day holiday weekend with nearly 1,800 in New Mexico. Make sure to get a full vehicle inspection ahead of any long trip but especially for components like a vehicle’s battery, engine and tires. Even a vehicle in top shape can run into an issue so it’s a good idea to pack a well-stocked emergency kit and have roadside assistance just in case.
- Beat the rush. Travel on off-peak times or days or pick a hidden gem closer to home. Based on AAA booking data, Friday, July 1 is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4) with Monday, July 4 being the lightest. For those hitting the road, the Thursday and Friday before the holiday are anticipated to be peak traffic days.
Top Destinations include Big Cities and International Favorites
AAA booking data reveals that big cities and international classics are top destinations this Independence Day. AAA data shows that bookings for air, car rentals, cruise, hotel, and tours are up 60% over last year for the top domestic Independence Day destinations and up 252% for international.