Americans to set road trip record for July 4, AAA predicts

Jun 28, 2022, 9:52 AM | Updated: 2:25 pm

FILE (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...

FILE (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Americans are feeling the heat at the gas pump, but that won’t keep them in park, AAA predicts.

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

That’s despite gas prices hitting a record earlier this month.

A combination of vacationers and commuters could drive travel times to double the normal length at peak points on Thursday and Friday evenings, traffic experts at Inrix said.

It warned some of the most congested routes then will include highways around Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle.

The best time to travel from Thursday through Friday is early or late in the day, Inrix projected. It said congestion on Sunday and Monday should be lower. July 4 lands on Monday this year.

While roads will be busy, a smaller share of Americans is expected to take to the skies over the holiday period. The share of travelers flying will be the lowest since 2011, AAA predicts.

Gas-saving tips

People determined to hit the road still have ways to at least ease the sting of gas prices. A few strategies include:

• Bypass stations just off major highways: “It’s usually best not use the stations right along the interstate,” advised Ellen Edmonds, manager of AAA public relations, in a recent interview with CNN Travel. Instead, “drive a few miles drive down the road. Look for residential areas or remote rural areas.”

• Get stingy at expensive gas stations: If you’re running real low on gas and you’re stuck in an area with jacked-up prices, by all means pull over to refuel. Just don’t fill up all the way. Pump enough gas to safely get to a location where stations generally charge less.

• Consider a “nearcation”: There are options between settling for yet another staycation and an epic, cross-country road trip that would bust your budget. It’s the “nearcation.” Think about places closer to home yet far enough away to feel like a bona fide journey.

In the skies

While the roads will be packed, a smaller share of Americans will be flying for the holiday, AAA expects.

It said the 3.55 million people projected to take to the skies over Independence Day is only 7% of travelers. That’s the lowest share since 2011, when the economy was still rebuilding from the Great Recession.

AAA says airfare is about 14% more expensive than in 2021.

The fare-watchers at Hopper say prices paid this month are down about $20 from the average in May, but attributes that to travelers purchasing less expensive fall flights. The rate for an average hotel room is 23% higher than last year, AAA said.

Altogether, AAA said travel demand is “not tapering off” despite the higher expenses.

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

Flight cancellation advice

CNN Travel asked Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware, what travelers can do to brace themselves for cancellations and delays this summer.

Travel experts: Give yourself extra time to avoid airport delays

She offered these tips based on a conversation she had recently with an employee at a major U.S. airline:

• Leave cushion time: Don’t travel on the day of an important event. Plan to arrive at least one day early.

• Apps are your friend: If your flight is canceled, reschedule your travel on the airline’s app. You’re likely to be able to rebook faster and you’ll have access to seats that would probably be filling up as you waited on the phone.

• Use a carry-on for essentials: Pack anything you’ll need within one or two days in your carry-on. Don’t check prescription medications or other essentials.

• Stay considerate: Don’t take your frustration out on customer service employees. They aren’t making the operations decisions.

And click here to get even more advice on what to do if your flight is canceled or delayed and the best ways to reduce the chances of a flight disruption.

Top image: A motorist fills up with gasoline in Houston. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP)

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

A driver blinks their hazard lights as heavy rain falls over parts of South Florida on Wednesday, J...

Associated Press

Much of US braces for extreme weather, from southern heat wave to possible snow in the Rockies

After days of intense flooding in Florida, that state and many others are bracing for an intense heat wave, while the Pacific Northwest will experience unseasonably cold weather and there is a potential for late-season snow in the Rocky Mountains early next week.

17 hours ago

The flag installation seen in June 2023 on the fence at Christopher Park is part of the Stonewall N...

Ashley R. Williams, CNN

LGBTQ Pride Month flags vandalized near Stonewall National Monument, police say

Flags dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month were vandalized this week in New York City, according to the city’s police department.

24 hours ago

Aerial view over the airport of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii, USA with view over the runway to the coastlin...

Gregory Wallace and Ross Levitt, CNN

FAA investigating Southwest flight that came within 400 feet of crashing into the ocean

A federal investigation is underway after a Southwest Airlines flight plunged toward the ocean off the coast of a Hawaiian island.

1 day ago

Susan Elandt has owned a child care center in the small city of Waupaca, Wisconsin, since 2016. She...

Meena Duerson and Tami Luhby, CNN

‘Just too burnt out’: Child care crisis crunches providers

While the price of keeping children in care is sky-high, the burden of running childcare centers is equally unsustainable. Providers are burnt out.

1 day ago

First responders arrive at Oaks Park for a ride that is stuck with multiple riders in Portland, Ore...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews have rescued 28 people after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park in Oregon.

2 days ago

The OnlyFans logo is seen on a computer monitor in this posed photo, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in St....

Associated Press

Former Nashville officer arrested after allegedly participating in an adult video while on duty

A former Nashville police officer has been arrested for two counts of felony official misconduct after law enforcement officials say he allegedly participated in an adult video while on duty.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Americans to set road trip record for July 4, AAA predicts