Updated: September 30, 2023
AAA Hawaiʻi expects travel over Independence Day period to be close to the volume seen in 2019, which was the all-time travel record for the holiday. More than 7.4 million residents of Hawaiʻi, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington will take getaways over this Fourth of July period, which will be 4.7% higher than last year and down just 1.5% from 2019, according to AAA.
Nationally, nearly 51 million people are expected to travel, surpassing the record set in 2019. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from June 30 to July 4.
“Travel demand has been steadily increasing since 2020, and this summer is poised to be one for the record books,” said Heather Felix, AAA Hawaiʻi vice president of travel products and services. “The most significant change we are noticing this year is the surging interest in international destinations. Travelers are booking their dream bucket-list trips, and due to the increased demand, we are advising them to plan well in advance and work with a trusted travel advisor.”
AAA: Gas prices, vacation costs, and travel trends and tips
- Gas prices are about 65 cents to 85 cents a gallon lower in Hawaiʻi than at this time last year, although they are still at the second highest levels ever for this time of year. Nationally, gas prices are more than $1.30 lower than a year ago. Travelers who are taking road trips can find the least expensive gas prices along their route by using the free AAA Mobile app.
- Air travel is seeing the biggest spike despite high ticket prices. Passengers are paying 40% – 50% more for flights compared to last year, but AAA data shows bookings aren’t slowing down.
- Hotel prices are up slightly over 2022, but not by much. While the number of domestic hotel bookings is about the same as last year, AAA data shows international hotel bookings are up 80% compared to 2022.
- International travel demand is booming and so are passport applications. The U.S. State Department says it’s processing half a million applications a week. Routine service is averaging 10-13 weeks. Need a passport fast? RushMyPassport provides expedited services and discounts for AAA members. This past May, they handled more than 1,100 applications from AAA members, compared to just 73 applications in May of last year.
- Car rental shortages seen during the pandemic have improved. Inventory has been increasing steadily since last year, with newer models and electric vehicles added to fleets. AAA data shows rental prices are down slightly from last year. Demand for international rental cars is up more than 80% compared to 2022.
- Cruising is back to pre-pandemic numbers, with sold-out ships and advance bookings. Prices are about the same as 2022, with certain cruises a bit higher this year due to demand. Alaska cruises are particularly popular this time of year. AAA booking data also shows Caribbean cruises and European river cruises are top vacations in 2023.
AAA Hawaiʻi recommends air travelers to:
- Arrive at the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures.
- Reserve airport parking ahead of time.
- Check in online at home to avoid long lines in terminals.
- Download your airline’s app to be notified immediately of any flight changes.
- Consider applying for TSA PreCheck if you’re a frequent traveler.
AAA Hawaiʻi recommends drivers taking road trips to:
- Get at least seven hours of sleep before driving to avoid drowsiness behind the wheel.
- Ensure everyone wears a seatbelt for the entire trip.
- Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. Remember that driving distracted can be just as deadly as driving while impaired.
- Pack snacks, bottled water, phone chargers and an emergency roadside kit.
- Do a thorough inspection of your vehicle’s tires, battery and fluid levels before leaving, or find a reliable auto mechanic at an Approved Auto Repair facility by visiting AAA.com.
AAA expects to rescue more than 393,000 motorists over the Independence Day holiday period with more than 1,100 rescues in Hawaiʻi alone. The primary reasons why drivers will call AAA for help will be for flat tires, dead batteries and lockouts.