Skift Take

The global pandemic lockdown has awakened a new hunger for traveling. Despite the uncertainty of a new variant of coronavirus, the U.S. is seeing an increase in road trips that are good for the economy. But is it good for the environment?

After more than a year of lockdowns and traveling restrictions, 43 million people are expected to be hitting the road this July 4th weekend, surpassing Memorial Day travel this year and pre-Covid-19 levels of 2019.

The prediction comes from Arrivalist, the travel industry’s location intelligence platform  tracking consumer road trips via its Daily Travel Index.

Arrivalist July 4th 2021 Projections

Arrivalist’s July 4th, 2021 projections. Photo courtesy of Arrivalist.

Arrivalist predicts road trips this Fourth of July holiday will be up 25 percent year versus 2020, when many festivities were cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel is even expected to exceed pre-Covid-19 levels by 3.8 percent, compared to 2019 road trip activities, a company spokesperson said.

As more vaccines rollout and restrictions ease across states, more and more people are traveling, however the challenges facing a travel recovery is a spike in inflation and the new Delta variant circulating around the world, Arrivalist said.

“Predicting human behavior is never easy, especially when external factors such as changing gas prices and the recent spread of the Delta variant are at play,” said Cree Lawson, Arrivalist founder and CEO. “Despite this, we continue to see travel demand hold at a steady pace over the last few weeks in our daily road trip tracker.”

Second chart of Arrivalist's July 4th, 2021 projections

Second chart of Arrivalist’s July 4th, 2021 projections. Chart courtesy of Arrivalist.

Last year, Arrivalist predicted 37 million Americans would travel over the same holiday period even as coronavirus surged at the height of the pandemic.

Arrivalist’s methodology for predictions uses GPS and measures trips of at least 50 miles and a minimum of two hours duration, the company said.

“With travel demand at an all-time high and the President’s promise to mark this holiday as an independence from the Covid-19 virus, we expect that Americans will continue to shatter records for the upcoming July 4th holiday,” said Lawson.

Throughout the pandemic, as travel restrictions and closed borders around the globe have made it harder for people to travel freely, the U.S, and other countries around the globe have benefitted from an upsurge in travel to domestic destinations.

The Fourth of July, celebrating the United States’s birthday, is an important summer holiday with Americans traditionally traveling over the long holiday weekend. This year, the holiday falls on a Sunday.

In April, Americans logged 249 billion miles driving, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration said.


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Tags: coronavirus recovery, holiday travel, road trips

Photo credit: The wandering roads of the Pacific Coast Highway awaits Americans taking road trips over the 4th of July weekend. Hcabral / Flickr

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