July 4 Weekend Expected to be Busiest Travel Period Since COVID Began
While fireworks burst in the sky this fourth of July, this weekend is expected to be the busiest travel period the country has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 43 million Americans, which is a number that exceeds that 2019 by 5%, will head out to travel by air and by road this weekend.
The tradition of the “summer road trip” is stronger than ever, according to Jeanette McGee, director of AAA's external communications.
In addition to seeing increased activity on highways, drivers should expect traffic in big cities to be three to five times higher than on a typical day.
To avoid the congestion this three-day weekend, drivers should avoid traveling at peak times.
"If you're headed out for the holiday weekend, you're going to want to avoid traveling between 3 and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday," McGee said. "You're going to have commuters mixing with people getting out of town. So, the best day to travel is going to be Sunday, and if you're returning on Monday, definitely do so earlier in the day."
Boro Parkers who might be hitting the road also should be prepared to shell out a lot for gas, which now costs the most it has since July 2014, AAA said.
"Gas prices are expensive, and they are not letting up," McGee said. "The national average is $3.09 and we expect it to increase ahead of the holiday weekend."
Road trippers without cars should remember to reserve early their rental cars, the prices of which are going through the roof: some prices as much as 100% higher than they were last year at this time.
"They were about $50 in January, and, currently, they're about $110 a day," Hopper economist Adit Damodarn told ABC News.
In addition to the roads, the skies will be filled with travelers seeking fun and adventure.
United Airlines, for instance, expects to fly 2 million customers from Thursday to Tuesday.
"July 4 is the most searched weekend of summer 2021 thus far," Damodarn said. "It's going to be the busiest travel weekend since the start of the pandemic."