The Colorado chapter of AAA expects holiday travel to set a new record next week.
Nearly 810,000 Coloradans will travel 50 miles or more away from their homes during the upcoming Independence Day holiday, an increase of 7 percent from last year, AAA Colorado stated in a news release.
The volume of travelers is expected to be the highest since AAA Colorado started tracking the numbers 18 years ago.
The majority of travelers — nearly 650,000 — will be driving to their destinations during the Fourth of July travel period from Tuesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 8.
“Everything that’s making 2018 a record year for travel nationally is amplified in Colorado,” said Skyler McKinley, AAA Colorado spokesperson. “With one of the lowest unemployment rates ever recorded in any state’s history, consumer confidence is high. The bottom line: If you’ve got even a little disposable income in 2018, the odds are good that you’re using it to travel.”
Since Independence Day falls on Wednesday, travelers have more flexibility to schedule their trips the weekend before or after the holiday, AAA Colorado said.
Data compiled by AAA Colorado and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, indicate that motorists can expect the worst congestion in the late afternoon Tuesday, July 3. Commuters will be leaving work early and mingling with holiday travelers. The increased congestion will definitely affect Interstate 25 and Interstate 70.
Gas prices have stabilized since the 2018 high of $2.97 per gallon set over the Memorial Day weekend, but the national gas price now has dropped to $2.84, which is 60 cents higher than last year at this time.
Throughout the state, gas prices are averaging $2.83 per gallon. According to AAA Colorado, the current highest price, $3.15, is in Vail, and the lowest, $2.75, is in Denver.
Motorists can expect prices to be higher during Independence Day week, but AAA says that isn’t going to deter anyone from hitting the roads.
Nationwide, travelers who are flying to their Independence Day destinations will pay an average of $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, that is the lowest July 4 week fare in five years, and 9 percent lower than last year.
Once they get to their destinations, however, travelers will pay more than last year to rent a car and stay at mid-range hotels.
The costs tourists will incur:
Car rentals: At $66, the average daily cost will increase 2 percent over last year.
Hotels: The average nightly rate at AAA Two Diamond hotels is $147, 11 percent more than last year. AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, a 2 percent increase over last year.