Heavy July 4 travel expected

Heavy July 4 travel expected Americans continue to show an increased interest in vacation travel as evidenced by the 37.4 million people who expect to travel 50 miles or more from home the Fourth of July weekend – the highest total for that holiday in at least nine years, according to AAA.

That total is nearly 2 percent more than the estimated 36.8 million who traveled a year ago. Of the number of this year's holiday vacationers, 23.6 million plan to go by motor vehicle, up 2 percent from last July 4.

Another 4.3 million people are projected to travel by air, down 2 percent from last year. Approximately 500,000 travelers expect to go by other modes of transportation as compared to 400,000 in 2002.

"The July 4 period traditionally is the heaviest travel period of the summer and a big turnout this holiday could trigger an upturn in domestic tourism for the remainder of the summer," said Cheri Cihak, AAA South Dakota's director of public affairs. "We expect interest in drive trips to strengthen as the summer progresses."

Research for Independence Day travel is based on a national telephone survey of 1,300 American adults by the Travel Industry Association of America, which conducts special research for AAA.

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. AAA South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Madison, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

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