This Independence Day is gearing up to be a holiday of truly historic proportions.
The United States will be celebrating its 241st birthday, of course — but it will also be a record-breaking time for travel. More than 44 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from their homes, making 2017 the most traveled Fourth of July weekend ever, according to a forecast from the American Automobile Association (AAA).
“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing, said in a statement. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”
AAA defines the Independence Day travel period as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. During this time, the majority of Americans are expected to drive to their destinations, which could be partially attributed to a historically low average gas price for summer travel season at $2.28 per gallon.
Americans will still take to the skies, however. The forecast estimates that 3.44 million people will fly for the holiday weekend, an air travel increase of 4.6% compared to last year.
Similar to automobiles, average flight prices are down 7%, according to data from online travel agency CheapOair. Its report found that Chicago’s bookings have experienced the largest price decline in domestic travel since last year, with a sizable decrease of 23% from 2016.
According to CheapOair’s analysis, Las Vegas is the top Fourth of July destination for flights. The next most popular destination for flights for the holiday weekend was Orlando, which corresponds with AAA’s findings that Orlando is the top destination for summer travel in 2017, thanks to new attractions debuting at its popular theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios.
Should you find yourself on the road (or sky) this Independence Day weekend, there are number of techniques you can practice to avoid losing it during long or crowded trips. As clinical psychologist Dr. Todd Farchione previously told Travel + Leisure, make sure to allot extra time, set reasonable expectations and take deep breaths whenever you’re feeling stressed.