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Here’s when NOT to hit the road for a Fourth of July trip

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Planning on vacationing somewhere for the long Fourth of July weekend? Hurry up and get out of town.

With Independence Day falling on Thursday, AAA auto club expects an additional 1.9 million Americans to travel for the holiday between July 3 and July 7 over last year.

Thanks to a mix of holiday travelers and commuters leaving work, the absolute worst time to hit the road will be Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., transportation analyst Trevor Reed of INRIX told USA TODAY. INRIX is a global mobility analytics company that partnered with AAA to deliver data on summer travel.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” Reed added in a press release. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:

Total travel volume is expected to be up 4.1% from 2018. Breaking down travel by mode, AAA says car and air travel number will spike. It also expects collective numbers for trains, buses and cruise ships to increase.

41.4 million American will travel by car, AAA predicts. This is expected to be the most popular form of transportation and a record high since 2000, when AAA began tracking holiday travel.

The national gas price average is $2.66, 19 cents less than this time last year, according to AAA, which is likely to boost holiday road trips. The organization predicts prices will continue to drop this summer.

Top destinations include Orlando, Florida; Honolulu; Seattle; Las Vegas; Anaheim, California; New York; Boston; Maui, Hawaii; Anchorage, Alaska; and Chicago.

Traveling a little too far away for a road trip? Over 22.7 million Americans traveled via airplane between June 30 and July 8 last year, and 4 million of them experienced flight delays or cancellations, according to a study from AirHelp.

And the Sunday after the holiday saw the largest airport crowds, so you might want to consider cutting your trip a little shorter — or extending it!


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