AUSTIN (KXAN) — With more than 3.7 million Texans expected to travel, this Independence Day not only marks the return of pre-pandemic travel, it’s also expected to be the busiest Fourth of July travel weekend ever.
AAA Texas said the bulk of travelers, 3.3 million Texans, will be hitting the road. That number is up 41% from last year, and up 10% from 2019.
The road trip restart isn’t being slowed by higher gas prices. Prices in Travis County average $2.79 a gallon and a cent more statewide. That’s up 91 cents from this time last year, according to AAA.
“Higher gas prices really are not expected to deter travel for Fourth of July,” said AAA Texas Spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “Some areas could see traffic volumes up to 50% above normal.”
In the air, it’s even busier.
There are 177% more Texas fliers compared to this time last year. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport expected to see roughly 28,000 passengers Friday.
“We are in the full swing of summer travel,” said Airport Spokesperson Bryce Dubee. “It is busy, and not just in a ‘pre-COVID’ sense busy. It’s busy if we were talking summer 2018, 2019.”
However, Austin itself, especially downtown, may see more people leaving than visiting.
June saw 70% occupancy in Austin hotels, which was encouraging. Bookings are also up for later in the year, but not necessarily this weekend.
“One would assume the weekends would be strong when July 4th is on a weekend, however, we’re not seeing that this weekend,” said Visit Austin Executive Vice President Steve Genovesi. “We’re guessing maybe people are taking a full week off, maybe going to the beach or other places.”