AAA predicting record number of July 4th drivers

MIAMI – Despite sky-high fuel costs, AAA is predicting a record number of July 4th drivers.

The automotive and trip-planning group’s annual forecast for the July 4 vacation weekend says that 42 million Americans — greater than ever — will take a highway journey of 50 miles or extra.

That’s regardless of fuel costs hitting a record earlier this month. The nationwide common per gallon on Monday stood at $4.98, simply pennies off the excessive of $5.02 reached every week earlier.

A mix of vacationers and commuters may drive journey occasions to double the traditional size at peak factors on Thursday and Friday evenings, site visitors specialists at Inrix mentioned.

The finest time to journey from Thursday by Friday is early or late within the day, Inrix projected. It mentioned congestion on Sunday and Monday must be decrease. July 4 lands on Monday this 12 months.

People decided to hit the highway nonetheless have methods to no less than ease the sting of fuel costs. A number of methods embrace:

• Bypass stations simply off main highways
“It’s usually best not to use the stations right along the interstate,” suggested Ellen Edmonds, supervisor of AAA public relations, in a latest interview with CNN Travel. Instead, “drive a few miles down the road. Look for residential areas or remote rural areas.”

• Get stingy at costly fuel stations
If you are operating actual low on fuel and also you’re caught in an space with jacked-up costs, by all means, pull over to refuel. Just do not refill all the best way. Pump sufficient fuel to securely get to a location the place stations typically cost much less.

• Consider a “nearcation”
There are choices between settling for one more staycation and an epic, cross-country highway journey that will bust your price range. It’s the “nearcation.” Think about locations nearer to residence but far sufficient away to really feel like a bona fide journey.

While the roads shall be packed, fewer Americans shall be flying for the vacation, AAA expects.

It mentioned the three.55 million individuals projected to take to the skies over Independence Day is barely 7% of vacationers. That’s the bottom share since 2011 when the financial system was nonetheless rebuilding from the Great Recession.

AAA says airfare is about 14% dearer than in 2021.

The fare-watchers at Hopper say costs paid this month are down about $20 from the common in May, however attributes that to vacationers buying cheaper fall flights. The price for a median lodge room is 23% larger than final 12 months, AAA mentioned.

Altogether, AAA mentioned journey demand is “not tapering off” regardless of the upper bills.

“People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation,” mentioned Paula Twidale of AAA Travel.

CNN Travel requested Kathleen Bangs, a former industrial airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware, what vacationers can do to brace themselves for cancellations and delays this summer season.

She supplied the following pointers primarily based on a dialog she had on Monday with an worker at a significant US airline:

• Leave cushion time
Don’t journey on the day of an necessary occasion. Plan to reach no less than at some point early.

• Apps are your buddy
If your flight is canceled, reschedule your journey on the airline’s app. You’re doubtless to have the ability to rebook quicker and you will have entry to seats that will most likely be filling up as you waited on the telephone.

• Use a carry-on for necessities
Pack something you will want inside one or two days in your carry-on. Don’t test prescription drugs or different necessities.

• Stay thoughtful
Don’t take your frustration out on customer support workers. They aren’t making the operations selections.

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