If you’re taking a trip this Fourth of July weekend, prepare for congested highways and crowded airports. More Americans than ever will be traveling over the extended holiday weekend, according to AAA.
The auto club projects that 42.9 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the five-day period from Thursday, June 30, through Monday, July 4. That number is 1.3 percent more travelers than last year and the highest Fourth of July travel volume on record.
Why are so many people traveling? Gas prices are at their lowest levels since 2005, making travel more affordable. The national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.31, which is 47 cents less than one year ago. AAA says U.S. drivers have saved about $20 billion on gasoline so far this year, compared to the same time last year.
A vast majority of people will be driving over Fourth of July weekend. AAA says 36.3 million people will drive to their destinations, 3.34 million people will fly, and 3.28 million people will travel by other means, including trains, cruises, and buses.
The best way to avoid crowds is to travel at off-peak times. Most travelers will depart on Friday, July 1, and return on Monday, July 4. If your plans permit, consider traveling on Thursday, and stay an extra day at your destination and return on Tuesday.
Fliers should arrive early at the airport and prepare for security. Check the My TSA app (for Apple and Android devices) to ensure you’re not packing any prohibited items, wear slip-on shoes that come on and off easily, and avoid bringing liquids in your carry-on bags or place them in an outer pocket that’s easy to access.