For many Americans, the 4th of July will make for a three-day weekend this year since the holiday falls on a Friday—the first time in six years. And since many offices, businesses and government institutions will be closed for Independence Day, many will go on a weekend getaway.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that 41 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles or more this year, up 2 percent from the 40.3 million who traveled last year. It’s also one of the most-traveled holidays, more so than even Memorial Day, which kicks off the summer season.
"With school out for summer, the 4th of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with 5 million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day (2014) weekend," AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall Doney said.
The majority of travelers will be journeying by car, AAA said; 8 in 10 will drive to their destinations, which is the highest level since before the 2007 recession. Those who drive will spend more on gas this Independence Day since the national average price is up about 20 cents per gallon, according to USA Today. AAA, however, predicts that gas prices will not inhibit holiday travel plans.
Meanwhile, the costs of flights are lower, AAA said. Travelers will see a 5 percent decrease on the cost of airfares, but a 15 percent higher rate on hotels.
CheapOair.com told NBC News there has been a 30 percent increase in domestic air bookings for July 4 this year. The online travel agency said that prices for the top 10 destinations in the U.S. were around the same price as last year or dropped as much as 23 percent.
WalletHub estimated that travelers will spend $330 on average for Fourth of July travel, a 10 percent increase from last year and a whopping 72 percent spike from 2012.
So where are the best destinations for travel deals this Independence Day? Here’s a roundup of the best bang for your buck.
WalletHub said the cheapest destinations for 3-star hotels for 2014 are: Jacksonville, Florida; Glendale, Arizona; Richmond, Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Orlando, Florida. The site ranked Richmond; Irvine, California and Cincinnati, Ohio as the top three destinations meeting the criteria of best weather, cheapest food and entertainment and most attractions and recreational activities.
CheapOair, on the other hand, said Atlanta, Denver, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando are the most affordable places to visit for July 4 based on airfare prices and hotel rates. A trip to Orlando for the holiday costs, on average, $85.74 nightly for hotels and $332.60 for round-trip airfare.
Hotwire placed its averages for trips to Orlando—its most popular destination—much lower, at $55 on average per night. Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta came in a close second and third, at $63 and $66 a night, respectively. Las Vegas and San Diego rounded out the top five at $75 on average per night in Sin City and $89 nightly for the Southern California hotspot.
Priceline said Las Vegas is its most popular destination but reported that Phoenix and Williamsburg, Virginia, have the best deals, with hotels costing $85 and $97 per night on average.
Travelocity also listed a number of destinations with hotel rates below $150 including Las Vegas at $105; Albuquerque, New Mexico at $112; Colorado Springs, Colorado at $116; Memphis, Tennessee at $126 and Dallas-Fort Worth at $126.