34.8 million Americans will travel by car this Independence Day

June 26, 2014 12:00 AM

AAA projects that nearly 41 million Americans will travel during Independence Day weekend, July 2-6. This forecasted amount is almost 1 million more travelers than last year. The majority of those people - 34.8 million - will be traveling by car as opposed to an airplane, some driving more than 50 miles to reach their July 4 destination.

Travel volume has increased four out of the past five years, which AAA credits to a willingness to take on more credit card debt, leading to increased consumer spending. A boosted consumer confidence and employment outlook are driving factors for the rise in spending this year as opposed to last year, according to AAA's press release.

With the growing number of road trippers across the country, there could be a corresponding increase in gas prices for this weekend. Already, national gas prices are at $3.68, $0.20 more than July 4 last year. For those thinking about airfare, the sudden desire to embark on a cross-country road trip will benefit you, since airline prices are down 5 percent from last year. The average cost of a hotel room has increased however, though the rental car price is around the same amount as last year.

If your family is planning on taking a road trip to reach the best spot for fireworks this year, remember to check your vehicle before embarking on your trip. Consumer Reports suggests checking wipers and fluid levels yourself, and scheduling a maintenance check with your local auto repair shop for an oil change or a tune up. Have the service station inspect the tread of your tires and test the brakes as well. Try to travel as lightly as possible, but remember to stock the vehicle with an emergency kit. If you're anticipating traffic, make sure you pack waters and snacks for the waiting time.

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