If projections from AAA are correct, southern Oklahoma vacation destinations could very well see an increase in visitors during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.


If projections from AAA are correct, southern Oklahoma vacation destinations could very well see an increase in visitors during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.

 

The auto club projects more Oklahomans are expected to travel over the Independence Day weekend, which is defined as July 1 to July 5. AAA predicts more than 500,000 state residents will drive or fly this year, a 13.2 percent increase from last year. Most of those travelers are expected to hit the highway rather than head for the airport.

 

With an national economy that is somewhat stronger than it was this time last year, AAA projects the total number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday weekend will increase 17.1 percent. AAA Texas predicts a 14 percent increase in the number of  Lone Star residents who plan to travel during that same period.

 

“While financial markets continue to be volatile because of the European debt crisis, the landscape of the U.S. economy is in a much different place than it was one year ago,” AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said. “AAA travel agents report double-digit increases in the percentage of travelers making advanced reservations for cruises. Plus, vacation packages and online hotel bookings via AAA.com are up over last year.”

 

Mai said although AAA Oklahoma offices have been fielding inquiries regarding travel to the Gulf Coast, they have not experienced widespread cancellations. Even with worries about how the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will affect area beaches, many travelers visit the region for reasons other than boating and swimming.

 

AAA said the national average price of self-serve regular gasoline will be between $2.70 and $2.80 per gallon during this Fourth of July holiday weekend, about a nickel above prices a year ago. In Oklahoma, the auto club predicts the state average will range between $2.55 and $2.65, around ten cents more than the 2009 Independence Day holiday.

 

Because the summer heat increases the risk of motor vehicle problems, the Fourth of July marks the busiest travel holiday for emergency roadside service calls. To decrease the likelihood of break down, the auto club recommends motorists have their vehicles serviced regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule and identify a quality repair shop.

 

AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.