Monday, June 28, 2010

July 4th Travel on the Rebound

SALT LAKE CITY, June 28, 2010 – High expectations dominate the travel landscape this upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend as more than 2.75 million residents from the Mountain West are projected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes. According to AAA’s latest travel survey, this represents a 19 percent increase compared to last year.

“A sense of contained optimism has created a hearty increase of travelers, compared to last year when the recession caused many people to change their plans,” says AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “Potential impacts to travel plans, like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or volatility in the European financial market, aren’t stopping Mountain West residents from traveling, as they are decidedly on the move.”

Fourth of July marks one of the busiest national holidays. This year, AAA projects more than 2.43 million Mountain West residents will drive to reach their holiday destinations. That’s a 20 percent increase when compared to 2009. Air travel is expected to increase by 10 percent, with more than 140,000 Mountain Westerners expected to take to the skies to reach their holiday destinations.

Nationally, AAA forecasts just over 34.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the 4th of July holiday weekend, representing a 17 percent increase compared to last year.

Nationally, Independence Day holiday air travel is expected to increase 13 percent when compared to last year, with weekend airfares averaging $192 per ticket, according to the AAA Leisure Travel Index. Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are averaging $141.60 per night and weekend car rentals are forecasted to increase by four percent to an average rate of $54. A Mountain West family of four is expected to spend an average $579 over the weekend and the average road trip will cover 926 miles.

According to AAA’s survey, the primary leisure activities for Mountain West residents celebrating the nation’s birthday will be visiting family and friends, shopping, dining and sightseeing.

As part of AAA’s ongoing commitment to providing safety and protection to motorists, the AAA Tipsy Tow Program will offer a free tow for drinking drivers in Utah from 6:00 p.m. on July 4, until 6:00 a.m. on July 5.

Members and non-members alike can call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow of up to five miles. "Just tell the AAA operator, ‘I need a Tipsy Tow’, and a truck will be on its way,” said Fairclough. “Service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and his or her vehicle to the driver’s home.”

AAA Tips to Avoid Air Travel Delays:
By following these defensive measures before traveling by air, you can avoid unnecessary frustration and disruption.

Avoid delay-prone flights. Before you book, make sure you’re on a flight that has a decent arrival history.

Know your airline. Avoid airlines that are known for labor disruptions or major instances where flights have been canceled.

Book a nonstop. If you fly directly to your destination, you won’t get stuck in a connecting city.

Fly mornings. Whenever possible, book the first flight of the day. Delays tend to worsen later in the day.

Leave enough time for connections. Schedule at least one hour for a connection. Give yourself more time if you have to change planes and go through security again.

Use small airports. Avoid airline hubs whenever possible. Secondary airports are usually less congested and less prone to delays.

AAA offers a variety of travel planning tools that include free TourBook travel guides and maps for members and the TripTik® Travel Planner, available free to all travelers at . Three iPhone apps offer access to AAA products and services on the go. The AAA TripTik® mobile app provides information on gas prices, hotels, restaurants and attractions.

Projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed up with AAA as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA Travel is the nation’s largest travel organization. AAA Travel offers trips, cruises, tours and vacation packages throughout the world. Call (888) 937-5523 for more information or visit us at your local AAA Travel office or online at .

AAA Utah offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 175,000 members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.

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