Despite low gas prices ($2.69 to $2.73 per gallon in Reston, according to Gas Buddy.com), that’s just a 0.4 percent increase from last year. AAA says 743,200 residents expected to drive to their vacation destinations, 62,500 expected to fly and the rest expected to take trains and other modes of transportation.
AAA says there would have been more people traveling this year, had Labor Day not fallen on Sept. 7, the latest possible day it can occur. Historically, that curtails holiday travel.
“While increasing travel volume is great news for the industry and economy, our survey shows a decidedly ‘un-laboring’ take on the Labor Day holiday,” AAA’s John Townsend II said in a press release.
“Many would rather spend the holiday at cookouts, relaxing or simply at home to avoid heavy holiday traffic congestion or additional spending, especially if they have already taken a vacation this summer.”
Plus, school starts the next day in Fairfax County.
Are you planning on hitting the road one more summer trip? Or are you staying right here and getting ready for fall?
AAA estimated one-fifth of area residents will travel 50 miles or more from home (and countless residents from other areas will travel to DC for the holiday).
That comprises a 0.4 percent increase in the number of Washington metro area residents who traveled at this time last year, says AAA.
Nearly 90 percent of Washington-area travelers will be driving, which will make for the highest travel volume for the Fourth of July holiday since at least 2001, AAA said.
Since July 4 is a Saturday, most workers have Friday off as an official holiday. That means getaway traffic could start as early as Wednesday night.
Nationwide, AAA says 42 million people will be on the road or on an airplane, up one percent from last year. Nationwide, about 84.7 percent of travelers will drive, which is the highest level for the Independence Day holiday travel period since at least 2001.
“Remarkably, 2 in 10 persons living in the Washington metro area (or 17.2 percent of the area’s population of 5,860,342 people) will venture from home for the July Fourth holiday travel period,” John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said in a statement.
“This marks the second time since at least 2001 that over one million Washington metro area residents will take a vacation during the Independence Day holiday period.”
Part of the increase in the number of travelers is due to gas prices, which remain well below levels from July of 2014 and the lowest in five years, AAA said.
In Virginia, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped slightly to $2.59 per gallon. Today’s price is eight cents higher than one month ago and remains significantly discounted from this time last year with drivers saving an average of 90 cents per gallon year-over-year.
Beltway traffic/file photo
They will join 37.2 million travelers nationwide who will drive or fly more than 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend.
The 2015 projection is an increase of 4.2 percent over the number of Virginians who traveled in 2014 and the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2005, AAA Mid- Atlantic says.
Virginia’s lowest gas prices in five years — around $2.69 a gallon in Reston –have boosted travel numbers.
“Fluctuating gas prices had little impact on Virginians’ decision to travel in the past,” said Tammy Arnette, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Public Affairs Specialist. “This year is a different story, however, as gas prices hit a five-year holiday low and prompted more holiday celebrations away from home.”
Of the over 1 million travelers, 90 percent of Virginians (952,358) will travel by automobile, an increase of 4.8 percent over last Memorial Day.
Holiday air travel is expected to increase 1.8 percent to 77,491 passengers with average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes coming in two percent cheaper this year, falling to $222.
This year’s travelers will encounter slightly higher average daily car rental rates, up $19 from 2014.
Three Diamond hotels will cost seven percent more, averaging $182.
Gas prices in Virginia overall are averaging $2.48 a gallon — $1 per gallon less than last year and the the lowest since Memorial Day 2009, when prices were $2.33.
Beltway traffic/file photo