AAA Chicago

June 24, 2009 06:58 ET

AAA Chicago Predicts Slight Decrease in Fourth of July Travel

Bargains Available for Budget-Conscious Travelers

AURORA, IL--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - AAA Chicago projects the number of Americans traveling on vacation this Fourth of July holiday weekend will decrease 1.9 percent from 2008, with approximately 37.1 million travelers taking a trip of 50 or more miles from home. Last year, 37.8 million Americans traveled during the same period, a 10.5 percent decline from 2007.

This year's projected slight decline in leisure travel is mainly due to ongoing uncertainty about the strength of the economy, especially rising unemployment and sagging personal incomes.

"While gas prices are significantly lower than this time last year, the recent rise in pump prices may also cause some travelers to limit or abbreviate their holiday plans," said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago's regional president. In Illinois, gas prices are $2.81, up 39 cents from Memorial Day weekend, but down $1.38 from last July 4th. In Indiana, regular unleaded fuel costs $2.74, which is up 45 cents from Memorial Day weekend, but down $1.37 from July 4, 2008.

In Illinois, nearly 1.7 million people are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday, about the same number compared to last year. Of those travelers, the majority, or 1.5 million will be traveling by motor vehicle. About 60,000 people are expected to fly, and the rest will travel by another mode of transportation. In Indiana, 685,000 people are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday, a 0.5 percent decrease compared to last year. Most will drive, with 611,000 people expected to travel by roads and 24,000 people are expected to fly. The rest will travel by other modes of transportation.

The July 4th holiday period is typically the busiest time of year for family auto travel since children are out of school. "Those who do travel on vacation this summer will find attractive discounts and special offers which result in some outstanding vacation values," Roeber added.

Although air travel will account for only five percent of July 4th leisure travel, the industry is expected to see a 4.9 percent increase in leisure travel this holiday due to declining airfares and pent up demand. Two million people are expected to travel by air.

Fourth of July travelers expect to spend approximately $1,160 per household, and will log an average of 614 miles roundtrip. According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, airfares over the July 4th holiday weekend are expected to decrease 16 percent from last year. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond and Two Diamond lodgings are expected to be 12 percent less than last year. Car rental rates are up five percent.

AAA's projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/HIS Global Insight 2009 July 4th holiday forecast can be found at

AAA Chicago offers automotive, travel agency, insurance and financial services to more than 900,000 members in Illinois and northern Indiana. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with approximately 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization with more than 51 million members in the United States and Canada.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Nicole Niemi
    AAA Chicago
    (630) 328-7237
    (630) 364-6989

    Beth Mosher
    AAA Chicago
    (630) 328-7234
    (630) 327-8888