AAA anticipates nearly 20% jump in July 4 travel

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For Independence Day, the number of travelers is expected to increase 19.1 percent in Mountain States over last year.

AAA Colorado expects about 2.75 million travelers to travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend. Nationwide, the number of travelers is anticipated to increase 17.1 percent over last year, with 34.9 million Americans traveling between July 1 and July 5.

After steep declines in vacations during 2008 and 2009, these projections indicate that tourism and traveling are recovering.

Automobile travel is gaining popularity in the Mountain States –  2.43 million people will drive this holiday, a 19.9 percent increase from last Fourth of July. Colorado’s average price of gasoline will be similar to last year, between $2.60 and $2.70 per gallon, whereas in 2008, a gallon of gas was $4.00.

Also in the Mountain States, leisure air travel is expected to increase slightly, with 140,000 holiday flyers – an increase of 9.9 percent from one year ago.

Over the holiday weekend, the average distance Coloradans travel will be about 926 miles – 300 miles more than the national average, and median spending is expected to be $579.