4th of July trip: when to go and other driving tips
“I think we’ll see passenger travel levels this year rival those of 2019 – although airlines will have less capacity than they did then,” said Adam Gordon, chief executive and partner of the Boston Consulting Group travel team. The number of passengers who passed through airport security in June confirms this.
Here’s what travelers gearing up for the madness need to know.
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To avoid traffic jams, it’s best to travel on Thursdays before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. when the roads have cleared up a bit, AAA spokeswoman Ellen Edmonds said.
It is also safer to travel on Sundays and Mondays, days when many travelers are at their destination and at the heart of their vacation plans.
“Go during times when traffic won’t be as heavy and look for lesser-known routes,” suggested Edmonds, adding that the AAA trip-planning app, TripTik, is a good resource for getting around the busiest areas. crowded.
Edmonds said you’ll likely get stuck in traffic alongside other 4th of July travelers if you leave between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday or noon and 9 p.m. Friday. “It’s important for travelers to be prepared and flexible to minimize stress and enjoy the vacation,” she added.
The most congested highways
According to AAA data, the top 10 driving destinations in the United States for the 4th of July weekend are Orlando, Seattle, New York, Anaheim, California, Anchorage, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Denver and Chicago.
According to INRIX analysis, drivers traveling through major metropolitan areas – such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle – should be prepared for much greater delays. In Atlanta, for example, southbound Interstate 85 from Clairmont Road to MLK Drive is expected to be 134% more congested than normal, with traffic peaking Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. for drivers traveling counterclockwise on Interstate 495 from the New Hampshire Avenue exit to Interstate 267.
Avoiding travel on Thursday and Friday afternoons can help travelers stay clear of metropolitan area traffic. Sunday and Monday, however, are expected to see light congestion on metropolitan area freeways.
A little pause on high gasoline prices
Gasoline prices have been climbing for months, prompting drivers to be more aware of the miles they put on their cars. On Wednesday, the national average was $4.87 a gallon, down from a record high of $5.02 in mid-June, according to AAA.
A place to find relief? Sheetz. The convenience store announced on Monday that it will begin offering a gas special over the holiday weekend, lowering the price to $3.99 per gallon for the unleaded 88 and $3.49 per gallon for the ‘E85. The Mid-Atlantic chain claims to have more than 640 locations in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina.
High gas prices affect each state differently, so try to be strategic about where you fill up if you’re going on a trip. For example, fill up in Arizona instead of California, or in Kentucky instead of Indiana.
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No matter when you travel, make an effort to get to the airport early.
“Mornings tend to be more reliable times to fly because there’s less risk for things like summer weather disruptions on the networks,” said Gordan, the travel consultant.
Flying on Saturday of the long weekend and returning on Monday, July 4 is the best bet for the best prices on domestic travel, according to data from Hopper. Departing on Saturday instead of Thursday can save domestic travelers $70 per ticket on peak prices. For international travelers, Hopper suggests departing on Friday or Saturday to save an average of $160 on peak ticket prices.
More than 2 million people have passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints every day since June 5, 2022, and the numbers don’t seem to be slowing anytime soon.
Try to avoid the most common and popular flight times, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. With the increasing number of travelers at the airport, flight delays and cancellations are expected to bombard travelers and disrupt their plans over the weekend.
“Have a plan A, B and C,” Edmonds said, especially if you’re flying. She added that travelers should plan for delays or cancellations, as well as the potential additional cost of staying somewhere unexpected. To anticipate any issues that may arise, check in 24 hours before your trip and track your flight status via the airline’s app.
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Where bad weather is expected
Storms aren’t expected to get the better of the weekend, but there will be some weather-related hurdles for some travelers.
Moisture from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is expected to contribute to some afternoon and evening thunderstorms in the southwestern and southeastern interior states, according to AccuWeather. Additionally, the moisture could bring storms to parts of the northern Rockies, Midwest and Northeast, but those storms are expected to be brief, the weather service reported. Be prepared for possible weather delays at the airport if you are traveling to one of these areas.
The coronavirus is on the rise again in the United States, with the country reporting an overall 21% increase in new cases over the past week, according to tracking data from The Washington Post.
While the testing requirement for international travel to the United States has officially ended, health experts say you should still test for coronavirus, ideally within three days of your departure date. Health experts also suggest wearing a mask if you want to protect yourself from the virus, especially in crowded indoor spaces like airports.
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If you’re traveling abroad, testing positive for coronavirus can come with some hurdles, as travel restrictions vary by country. If you test positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you’re not supposed to travel for 10 days.