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What Minnesotans traveling for July Fourth need to know

Travel rush is on ahead of Fourth of July
Travel rush is on ahead of Fourth of July 05:37

MINNEAPOLIS — Transportation experts predict record-breaking numbers for the Fourth of July holiday. 

Millions of Americans are expected to travel by plane, train or automobile starting Wednesday.  

AAA predicts nearly 71 million people will travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend, which is up 5% from last year and more than 8% from 2019. 

Traveling by plane

The Transportation Security Administration predicts most travelers will take to the skies on Friday, when it anticipates screening more than 3 million people alone. That would surpass the agency's current record for people screened on a single day, which was set in late June at just under 3 million.

Of the roughly 71 million, more than 5.7 million people are projected to fly to their July Fourth destinations. That's an increase of nearly 7% compared to last year and a 12% increase over 2019. 

AAA says a big reason is domestic airfare is 2% cheaper this Independence Day than last year, with the average round trip ticket going for $800.

Some travelers say they found even cheaper deals.

"It was actually affordable, it was super cheap to fly here, it was like $200," Daisy De Leon said.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, there is construction happening at Terminal 1, so remember to leave early. 

Traveling by car

Wednesday and Sunday are expected to be the busiest days for drivers hitting the roads.

About 60.6 million people will travel by car, AAA expects. That's up 2.8 million travelers from last year and surpasses 2019 by more than 5 million. 

A big reason is gas prices, as they are a couple of cents lower than last year — $3.50 a gallon now vs. $3.53 last year.

In Minnesota, gas is even cheaper, currently averaging $3.32 a gallon for unleaded, which is down 12 cents from this time last year. 

As far as the best time to drive, it will be any time before noon the next couple of days. You'll want to avoid the afternoons and early evenings.

Experts say Interstate 94 west from Eau Claire to Minneapolis will be the busiest road in our area, hitting its peak congestion period on Monday at around 4:45 p.m.

"It's usually crazy, but it's a great time to travel with the holidays, and with the kids and their activities, it's just a perfect time to travel," Jimmy Chong said.

Domestically, Seattle, Orlando and Anchorage top the list of popular destinations, according to AAA. International destinations include Vancouver, London and Rome. 

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