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4th of July weekend travel could set new records, AAA says

Millions of Americans expected on the roads for 4th of July weekend, AAA predicts
Millions of Americans expected on the roads for 4th of July weekend, AAA predicts 01:43

BOSTON - If you're going away for the long 4th of July weekend, be prepared for traffic and lines at the airport.

According to AAA, the number of Americans traveling by car and air could be at record levels.

The agency predicts 50.7 million people will travel 50 miles of more from their home for the July 4th holiday. That would break the record of 49 million set in 2019.

"A lot of the COVID restrictions have eased as have the COVID numbers so people are feeling more comfortable and confident about traveling both by air and by road," said Mary Maguire, vice president of public and government affairs for AAA.

AAA said 43.2 million people will drive to their destinations. That's up more than two percent from last year and four percent higher than 2019.

"We've never projected travel numbers this high for Independence Day weekend," Maguire said in a statement Monday. "More than 1.4 million Massachusetts residents will be among those traveling, 1.2 million of us by car. Both mirror the national trends and are higher than the number of travelers and drivers from a year ago."

As for traffic predictions, with Maguire predicting Monday to be cashed in as a vacation day, the roads are expected to be busy.

"Historically we've seen a lot of volume on the Mass Pike, in particular, prior to a big holiday weekend," she said. 

One factor for the expected increase in drivers - gas prices are much lower than last summer. The average price for gallon of gas in Massachusetts this week is $3.55. Last year at this time it was $4.94.

"People are feeling that it's a more economically viable proposition to get behind a wheel and take a road trip," said Maguire.

AAA expects a new record for air travel as well, projecting 4.17 million Americans will fly somewhere for the holiday weekend. The current record for 4th of July travel is 3.91 million, set in 2019.

More people are also expected to travel by bus, train or cruise for the upcoming weekend. 

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