While higher gas prices are discouraging people from driving during the holiday weekend, and 2.5% less people will travel between June 30 and July 4 than they did during the holiday weekend last year, the number of people flying this weekend has actually gone up 9% to more than 3 million air passengers. Despite the increasing costs of airfares and fees, gas has become so expensive that, when undertaking longer trips, flying has become increasingly more affordable in comparison.
While gas prices have declined somewhat in the last week after the IEA announced they would release oil reserves, prices are still about $1 more per gallon than they were during the last Fourth of July weekend, when 40 million people traveled away from home.
The increasing number of air passengers this weekend has allowed airlines to fill planes while increasing ticket prices. However, passengers and prices aren’t just up for the holiday. According to Rick Seaney, founder of Farecompare.com, air travel should remain busy and expensive through Aug. 22, with airlines continuing to charge higher fees originally meant to combat higher fuel prices, but that will now result in greater profit as fuel prices have dropped over $20 a barrel since their high last month.
Despite increased air travel, the number of people traveling 50 miles away from home or more has declined 3% to 32.8 million.
Some of the top vacation destinations this weekend include Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Sea World, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, and the District of Columbia. Travelocity‘s website has a top 10 list of the most popular destinations for the 4th.
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