More Americans will travel this Fourth of July holiday than have since AAA started tracking the metric 18 years ago, according to the organization.

AAA projected that 46.9 million Americans -- an increase of 5% year over year -- will travel 50 miles or more away from home from July 3 to 8.

"Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season," said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing.

AAA's Memorial Day projections also called for a 5% year-over-year increase of travelers, the highest number in over 12 years.

July 4 is on a Wednesday this year, and AAA said that gives travelers some flexibility in planning a trip the weekend before or after, helping bolster numbers.

Most travelers, 39.7 million, will drive to their holiday, a 5.1% increase. The number flying, 3.8 million, a 7.9% increase, is record-breaking, according to AAA. The remaining 3.5 million will travel by trains, buses and cruise ships, a 5.8% increase.

Airfares have dropped to their lowest level in 5 years, according to AAA. Roundtrip tickets on the top 40 domestic routes average $171, 9% less than last year. Rental car costs have increased 2% to an average of $66 per day.

Hotel stays are more expensive. A night at AAA Two Diamond hotels will average $147, up 11%, and a night at AAA Three Diamond hotels will average $187, up 2%. AAA rates hotels on a scale of one to five diamonds.

Domestically, Orlando is the top destination, followed by Anaheim, Calif.; Seattle; Anchorage; and Honolulu. International, the top five are Rome, London, Dublin, Vancouver and Paris.

 

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