MIAMI - More than 2.6 million Floridians are expected to travel during the 4th of July holiday period, which runs through Monday, July 4th.
Eighty-nine percent of those travelers are forecast to travel by automobile - the most on record, dating back to 2001, according to the auto group.
That demand is enough to override consistently high gas prices. Experts say drivers can offset higher gas prices with savings in other areas of their journey. They suggest bringing food, ride-sharing, or splitting expenses with another family.
Those not hitting the road will be catching flights.
Miami International Airport is expecting 150,000 passengers a day through the weekend.
That's an increase of 20,000 from 2021 and even 2019.
Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International is expecting 8% fewer passengers than in 2021.
It's expecting its busiest day on Friday and an average of roughly 86,700 passengers a day through the weekend.
Air travelers may have a tough time. Tickets are pricey, cancellations are common, and staffing is short - factors that could continue through the summer.
"You've got to expect a lot of people traveling in a very condensed period of time and with not a lot of options to rebook," said Twidale.
Anticipating what it calls "operational challenges," Delta Airlines has dropped change fees and fare differences for flights scheduled during the holiday weekend.
Already CBS4 is hearing stories of canceled and delayed flights as we begin the Independence Day holiday weekend.
"We waited on the plane for 3 hours, they canceled the flight, then miraculously they said, "We found two pilots from New York, they're going to take you to Fort Lauderdale," explained travelers Teresa and Joanne from Toronto. "It's terrible. I want to cancel my flight for Christmas," Teresa said. "I'd rather drive,"
Zach Griff is a senior reporter with the Points Guy. "It's hopeful the airlines will be able to fly the schedule that they've been planning to, but they're bracing for the worst," Griff said.
He says travelers should prepare for delays and cancelations. "You have, of course, staffing of crews and pilots that are out of sequence when something goes wrong. We've seen a lot more weather delays, air traffic control staffing issues," Griff explains.
Despite cancelations and delays, lots of people are flying in and out of South Florida this weekend. Miami International is expecting 725,000 travelers over the holiday period, that's up 15 percent from last year, on its way to shatter a record. At FLL, they're expecting 520,000, down 8 percent from last year.
And a record number of travelers are getting on the road, 2.3 million in Florida. "We're coming down from Charlotte and headed to Sugarloaf and spend a week there and fish and camp and hang out," said Jason Watkins.
The Watkins family is in a big truck, pulling a big trailer, and this year, they're paying a big price at the pump. "It's a lot. I spent 170 dollars yesterday filling up on the second stop, 90 dollars on the first time and this is our third stop since we left Charlotte," Watkins said while gassing up. That last stop costing a hundred and 18 dollars.
Mark Jenkins is with AAA Auto Club. "Despite higher prices people are just eager to travel again. Many have been putting their travel plans off for the past couple of years and w're seeing all that pent up demand unleashed," he said.
Here are some tips from AAA to save money on gas:
AAA Resources for Drivers
• Enroll in savings programs. AAA Members who enroll in Shell's Fuel Rewards program can save 30 cents per gallon on their first fill-up and 5 cents per gallon each additional trip to the pump. Click here for more information.
• Get a tune-up. Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained to optimize its fuel economy. Visit AAA.com/AutoRepair to find a certified repair shop.
• Find the lowest gas prices in your area by using the free AAA mobile app.
• Determine anticipated fuel costs for your trip by using the AAA's Gas Cost Calculator.
Find Florida Gas Prices
• Daily gas price averages can be found at Gasprices.aaa.com
• State and metro averages can be found here
• Avoid the rush. Travel on off-peak times or days or pick a hidden gem closer to home. Based on AAA booking data, Friday, July 1 is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the holiday weekend (June 30 - July 4) with Monday, July 4 being the lightest. For those hitting the road, the Thursday and Friday before the holiday are anticipated to be peak traffic days. If you're flying, plan to arrive several hours early at the airport.
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