In spite of national pride associated with the fourth of July holiday, Independence Day is driving even Washington DC residents away from home. Despite being ranked in the top five cities to celebrate the holiday by WalletHub citizens of the US capital are planning to leave town in droves. AAA predicts that around 41 million plan to travel for the holiday nationwide, which would amount to a 1.9 percent increase over last year.
According to WalletHub the five best cities to visit for the holiday are Richmond, VA, Irvine, CA, Cincinnati, OH, Oakland, CA, and Washington DC. The personal finance website compared costs and the availability of activities to rank the best 100 places to visit in the country. The organization factored in considerations such as hotel quality, walkability of the location, and the average costs of food and drink. While The Washington Post indicates DC residents may choose to leave due to the intolerable heat expected there, WalletHub points out that at least it has lots of swimming pools. Still over a million people are expected to leave DC for some or all of the weekend.
As for why people choose to get away for the weekend, AAA points out that because the Independence Day holiday falls during summer break allows families to celebrate together without the constraints of school schedules. Also according to the AAA, US residents will more than likely drive to their destinations to celebrate their independence but about 17 percent will either fly or travel by train rather than waste the day away on the highway. Gas prices and hotel rates are expected to be higher in general this year but the jury is still out on whether airfare prices are actually dropping.
The fourth falls on a Friday this year and that may also account for some of the increase in travel. Business is definitely taking notice of the expected increase in travel and vacation deals are popping up everywhere. Companies like Priceline and Travelocity are posting bargain prices and rankings of potential destinations to secure their piece of the Independence Day pie. Cities themselves like Miami Beach and Orlando, FL and Denver, CO, are even planning free events to make spending the holiday there more appealing.
Safety is also a major concern for the holiday. Fire departments, police officials and various organizations all have advice for anyone celebrating, whether staying at home or traveling. Police departments and AAA encourage drivers to be vigilant behind the wheel, be especially careful when the weather is less than optimal, and to avoid drinking and driving. Many cities have bans or restrictions on the use of fireworks and fire departments encourage caution regardless of the local ordinances.
The fourth of July holiday is always big in America. Restaurants will be bringing on extra servers to handle the volume and there will be more rental cars on the road. Rest assured, whether residents are rushing to get away or tourists are struggling to get to their destinations, Independence Day will be the driving force for business for the weekend.
By David Morris