Skip to Content

AAA predicts record US Fourth of July travel; Bend again tops regional destination list; Redmond in Top 10

AAA Oregon/Idaho

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – AAA says it expects record-setting travel for the Independence Day holiday, with 70.9 million Americans (21.2 % of the population) going 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day holiday travel period. And in the Northwest, the top destination again is Bend, with Redmond also rounding out the Top 10.

For the first time, AAA looked at the entire July 4th week, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday. This year’s projected number of travelers for that time period is a 5% increase compared to 2023 and an 8% increase over 2019.

In the Pacific Region, Region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), 10.85 million people (20.4% of the population) are expected to travel, a 5% increase compared to 2023. In Oregon, about 862,000 will travel over the long weekend. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7.

The number of Americans traveling by car and air over the holiday are expected to set new records. .AAA projects 60.6 million people including 676,000 Oregonians will travel by car over Independence Day week. For air travel, AAA projects 5.74 million Americans including 122,500 Oregonians will fly to their destinations. Find more details and tips for travelers below.

“Travel volumes for this year’s 4th of July holiday will be higher than ever before. Americans are ready for fun and fireworks. With summer vacations and the flexibility of remote work, travelers will be taking to the roads, skies and seas to celebrate Independence Day,” says Doreen Loofburrow, Senior Vice President of Travel at AAA Oregon/Idaho.

“AAA expects this Independence Day week will be the busiest ever for travel over the holiday, with an additional 5.7 million Americans traveling this year compared to 2019,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast
2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

Road Trips: highest on record for Independence Day

AAA expects car travel to set a record this 4th of July as 60.6 million Americans (85.4% of travelers) drive to their destinations. This is up 4.8% and an increase of 2.8 million car travelers over last year, and also surpasses 2019 when 55.3 million took a holiday road trip.

In Oregon, more than 676,000 will drive to their Independence Day destinations.

“The good old American road trip is the most popular way to travel for the 4th of July. Traveling by car tends to provide the greatest flexibility and can be the most economical way to travel, especially for families,” says Dodds.

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

AAA offers an entire library of digital resources to make your trip more enjoyable and it’s all available in one convenient spot at  If you are looking for maps or our Digital TourBooks, visit You can download entire books or print the pages you’d like to bring with you. The TripTik Travel Planner provides turn-by-turn directions to keep you on the best route. With the AAA mobile app, you can request emergency road service, book a last-minute hotel, and even find the cheapest fuel and closest EV charging stations along the way. Download it at or visit the App Store or Google Play.

Air travel expected to set a new record

AAA projects 5.74 million Americans will take to the skies for Independence Day. This is up nearly 7% from last year and a 12% increase over 2019. In all, about 8% of all travelers will fly to their holiday destinations.

In Oregon, more than 122,500 will fly to their Independence Day destinations.

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

Jump in other modes of travel

Travel by other modes including cruises, buses and trains will rise by 9% from 2023, with 4.6 million people (6.5% of all travelers). This year’s number is just shy of 4.79 million in 2019.

Cruising continues its remarkable post-pandemic comeback. This time of year, Alaska cruises are in high demand, making Seattle and Anchorage top domestic destinations. Cruise travelers are also finding deals this summer. With new ships coming onto the market – and going for a premium – some cruise lines have been offering targeted discounts to fill older inventory for remaining cabins.

Approximately 59,000 Oregonians will travel by other modes.

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

Tips for those flying this Independence Day:

  • Check your airline’s website or download their app to keep up to date on your flight status, including checking one last time right before you leave for the airport. Allow push notifications so the airline can alert you of any changes.
  • Check-in online for flights 24 hours ahead
  • Arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international. Expect long security lines due to the spike in travelers.
  • Airport parking lots will likely be at or near capacity. Many airports including Portland International airport let you check current availability  Some parking facilities let you book in advance. 
  • Consider taking transit, using a ride sharing service or taxi, or getting a ride with a friend or family member to the airport so you don’t have to park onsite.
  • Carry your bags on your flight instead of checking them. If you do need to check bags, bring medications, a change of clothes, comfortable shoes, and any other necessary items with you on the flight. That way you’ll have provisions if your checked bags get lost or delayed. Make sure your bags have name tags, and also put your name and contact info inside each bag.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle and plan ahead for meals and snacks. Airport restaurants can be very busy with long lines at times. Many airlines allow you to pre-order food up to 24 hours before your flight. The TSA allows solid foods through screening but liquids or gels (such as yogurt) must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule.
  • Consider booking a flight during non-peak travel periods to cut down on wait times. In general, early morning flights tend to have fewer delays and cancellations than flights later in the day. Over the Independence Day holiday weekend, Saturday, July 1 is expected to be the busiest air travel day and Monday, July 3 will be the least busy. 
  • Sign up for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and/or CLEAR before your trip to expedite the security screening process. However, even these check-in lanes will be busier than usual. And confirm that the airports you use offer CLEAR as it’s not available at all airports.

Top Independence Day Destinations

AAA booking data reveals that theme parks, warm weather destinations, cruise gateway cities are the most popular based on searches and bookings by members of AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Anaheim and Orlando are top domestic destinations as Independence Day travelers head to theme parks. Seattle, Anchorage, and Vancouver, B.C. rank high because of the popularity of Alaska cruises this time of year. Beaches and cruise ports will also be packed. European cities dominate the list of international destinations. This year, Budapest and Basel are on the top 10 list for the first time.

In Oregon, Central Oregon and the Oregon Coast are popular destinations. Central Oregon has two cities and the coast has three cities in the top 10 list of regional destinations.

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

Best/worst times to drive and peak congestion

INRIX, a global provider of transportation data and insights, says the worst times to travel by car before and on July 4th are between 2pm and 7pm. Drivers should hit the road in the morning, and travelers returning on Monday, July 8th should avoid rush hour traffic in the morning and afternoon.

Here are the daily worst and best times to travel:

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

“With more people than ever heading out on a July 4th road trip, expect drive times that are longer than usual, especially in metro areas. The worst traffic delays are expected on Wednesday, July 3rd, as folks leave town, and Sunday, July 7th, as they return home,” says Dodds.

Here are projected travel times out of Portland from INRIX:

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

Airfare, hotel, rental car, cruise and tour costs  

Air—AAA finds that travelers are paying a bit less for domestic flights and more for international flights for Independence Day travel.

  • Domestic airfare is 2% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average price for a domestic roundtrip flight is $800.
  • International flights are 7% more expensive this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average price for an international roundtrip ticket is $1440.

Hotels—AAA finds hotel prices are up compared to 2023.

  • Domestic hotels are 17% more expensive this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average booking cost for a hotel stay (which is typically a few nights) is $660. That’s the average price of domestic hotel bookings through AAA – not a nightly rate.
  • International hotels are 14% more expensive this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average booking cost for a hotel stay (which is typically a few nights) is $725. That’s the average price of international hotel bookings through AAA – not a nightly rate.

Car Rentals—Daily car rental rates are less than in 2023.

  • Domestic car rentals are 16% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average booking cost for a rental car (which is typically several days) is $670 total – not the daily rate.
  • International car rentals are 6% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average booking cost for a rental (which is typically several days) is $940 total – not the daily rate.

Cruises—AAA finds that cruises are less expensive this year

  • Cruises departing from domestic cities are 24% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average cost for cruises departing from domestic cities is $1420
  • Cruises departing from international cities are 6% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average cost for cruises departing from international cities is $2430

Tours—AAA finds tours cost less this year

  • Tours in domestic cities are 21% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average cost for a domestic tour is $1100
  • Tours in international cities are 8% cheaper this July 4th week compared to last year.
  • Average cost for an international tour is $1620

Gas prices lower than last year

Drivers are paying less for gas this year compared to Independence Day 2023, and significantly less than in 2022 when as prices were at record highs for the holiday.

The national average is currently $3.45 and the Oregon average is $4.08 (as of June 20, 2024). Find current gas prices here:

Pump prices saw typical spring run-ups this year and have fallen in the last few weeks. The wildcard remains the price of crude oil, which is impacted by global unrest including the wars between Israel and Hamas, and Russia and Ukraine. Storms and hurricanes can also impact crude oil and gas prices, especially storms in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

For local news releases on gas prices, visit

2024 Independence Day Travel Forecast

Use the AAA Mobile App ( to help you find the least expensive gas in your area. You can also find the closest EV charging stations.

Find fuel saving tips here.

AAA to the rescue this Independence Day weekend

AAA expects to respond to more than 799,000 calls for roadside assistance nationally and 8,000 in Oregon this Independence Day travel period, with the most common issues being dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts. 

AAA makes it easy to request assistance—by phone or text (1-800-AAA-HELP), app or online—and members can track the service technician’s progress as they make their way to your vehicle.

Make sure your car is road-trip ready. Have your vehicle inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America.

Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, and well-stocked emergency kit including a flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, jackets and blankets, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers and pets. Share your itinerary with family or friends so that authorities know where to start looking for you if you don’t reach your destination.

“Bring enough provisions so that you and your passengers can be comfortable if you get stuck somewhere for a long period of time, even overnight,” says Dodds. “A wreck can tie up rural roads for hours, and you don’t always have cell phone service in remote areas.”

Find more info on getting road-trip ready at

AAA Travel Advice

With AAA projecting record travel for Independence Day, it’s important that travelers plan ahead and be flexible.

“Plan your trip in advance and have a plan B. Use your AAA membership to find discounts and rewards, work with a travel agent, and consider travel insurance as well as medical travel insurance,” adds Loofburrow.

AAA recommends working with a travel agent and considering travel insurance options. “A travel agent knows the ins and outs of travel and can help you plan a trip that meets your needs and budget. And if something goes wrong—from a flight cancellation to a medical emergency—or you need to make last-minute changes, your travel agent is your advocate,” says Loofburrow. “Travel agents can help you get the most out of your travel dollars as they know of special offers and rates that aren’t always available to the general public.”

AAA strongly recommends travel insurance to cover unexpected delays or trip interruptions. Travel insurance provides a safety net should something unexpected happen ahead of or during your trip. Medical travel insurance can provide coverage for illness and injuries and that may not be included in your regular health insurance plan. Travel agents can also advise on what travel insurance policy makes the most sense for your trip.

Visit or call (800) 529-3222 to reach a AAA travel agent.

Forecast methodology

In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence (SPGMI) developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from SPGMI’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment, output, household net worth, asset prices, including stock indices, interest rates, housing market indicators, and variables related to travel and tourism, including gasoline prices, airline travel, and hotel stays. AAA and SPGMI have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000. 

Historical travel volume estimates come from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM. The PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of U.S. residents. DK SHIFFLET contacts over 50,000 U.S. households each month to obtain detailed travel data, resulting in the unique ability to estimate visitor volume and spending, identify trends, and forecast U.S. travel behavior, all after the trips have been taken.

The travel forecast is reported in person-trips. In particular, AAA and SPGMI forecast the total U.S. holiday travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report was prepared the week of May 27, 2024.

Because AAA forecasts focus on domestic leisure travel only, comparisons to TSA passenger screening numbers should not be made. TSA data includes all passengers traveling on both domestic and international routes. Additionally, TSA screens passengers each time they enter secured areas of the airport, therefore each one-way trip is counted as a passenger tally. AAA focuses on person-trips, which include the full round-trip travel itinerary. As a result, direct comparisons of AAA forecast volumes and daily TSA screenings represent different factors.

*Independence Day Holiday Travel Period

For this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the nine-day period from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7. Historically, the Independence Day holiday period included only one weekend. This is the first year the Independence Day holiday travel period is a longer timeframe with two weekends included.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ news sources


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content