BOISE, Idaho — AAA says 261,000 Idahoans are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the 4th of July this year, just 2.5% less than the 2019 record and 40% more than 2020.
Increased vaccinations, reduced travel restrictions and lower unemployment are giving more people the confidence to travel. According to AAA, 2/3 of states have fully reopened.
“After seeing strong Memorial Day travel numbers, we felt that this was coming. The roads are going to be especially crowded this year, with a record 43.5 million Americans choosing the flexibility and convenience of traveling by car,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Average credit and debit card spending are also up 15% since January. That tells us that many Americans have the disposable income to travel, and that they’re going to go for it.”
AAA says the 4th of July holiday period is July 1 through July 5. The busiest times on the roads will be Thursday afternoon, when travelers are driving alongside commuters and July 5 as an observed holiday this year.
Popular destinations include state and national parks, and also tourist spots like Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Orlando.
“If you plan to travel on two-lane roads to reach a lake or a distant campsite, you could be in for some pretty heavy traffic congestion at times,” Conde said. “Wherever you go, please bring plenty of food and water with you to tide everyone over until you reach your destination.”
Gas prices have been climbing steadily so far, recently hitting the $3.30 mark in Idaho, but they aren't likely to change travel plans. Most people will shift funds from eating out or souvenirs if they need to offset the fuel cost.