Jim Rink (313) 336-1513
An estimated 1.2 million Michiganians will travel during the 2007 Fourth of July holiday, according to a recent AAA survey of 1,950 U.S. residents. Of this number, 92 percent will travel by car and 8 percent will travel by air.
“This Fourth of July holiday is somewhat unique, in that it falls in the middle of the week,” said Claire Lockley, vice president Travel for The Auto Club Group. “Interestingly, we’re finding that Americans aren’t willing to give up their traditional Fourth of July celebrations with friends and family, and many are choosing to take a few more days off of work to do so.”
Lockley added that fuel prices have stabilized somewhat, providing relief at the pumps and stimulating the decision to travel.
Holiday auto travelers will find gas prices in Michigan averaging $3.042 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline, 20.7 cents higher than last year at this time.
AAA’s Leisure Travel Index shows some other vacation costs up from Fourth of July 2006, while others have dropped significantly. Hotel rates are up a bit, averaging 5 percent higher for AAA-rated Three Diamond hotels than last year. Car rental rates will be similar to last year, which are up 3 percent. Airfares, however, are a welcome 12-percent lower than Fourth of July 2006.
For Midwest residents planning a summer vacation, the 10 most popular destinations are:
- Yellowstone National Park
- Las Vegas
- St. Louis
- Myrtle Beach
- Niagara Falls
Tourism in Michigan is a $15-billion-a-year industry, and the state remains one of the best travel values. A family vacation in Michigan will cost $43 less per day than the national average, with travelers paying an average of $226.38 per day for food and lodging (two adults and two children). That's $42.62 a day less than the national average.
This year, the official 30-hour Independence Day holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday (July 3), and ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday (July 4). During last year’s 102-hour July Fourth holiday period, 14 people died in 13 fatal crashes on roads across the state. Four (28.57 percent) of last year’s deaths were alcohol-related. Of the 14 occupants killed, only four (28.57 percent) were wearing their safety belts.
For traffic and detour information, motorists can call 1-800-AAA-MICH (222-6424). Or, before leaving, check the AAA Michigan Web site, www.aaatraffic.com
, for updated traffic information.