If your Fourth of July plans consist of you leaving the house, you may want to think again. 2021 is gearing up to see a record-setting weekend.
After 2020, everyone is looking to get out of the house for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations, and this upcoming weekend is looking to be the busiest travel day yet this year. Even with the new confidence concerning the Covid vaccine, the levels are just shy of pre-pandemic levels, reports Yahoo Money.
Furthermore, Memorial Day weekend was another high-traffic travel day for the United States.
Fourth of July is Going Off With a Bang
Hopper Economist Adit Damodaran told the news source that Memorial Day weekend was one of the busiest weekends for travel since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
“Memorial Day was very busy,” said Damodaran. “But July 4th will then blow it out of the water. Domestic travel is still reigning supreme.”
AAA estimates that more than 47.7 million Americans will either fly or drive this upcoming weekend, so the best place to watch fireworks could be your own backyard. This is a 40 percent increase from last year’s Fourth of July, which occurred mid-pandemic. 2020 only saw roughly 34.2 million Americans traveling for the holiday. The all-time high fell in 2019 when nearly 48.9 million Americans packed their bags.
Bob Pishue, INRIX’s transportation analyst, stated in a press release that Thursday and Friday would be high-traffic days, as well as Monday.
“With travelers eager to hit the road this summer, we’re expecting nationwide traffic volumes to increase about 15% over normal this holiday weekend. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delays,” said Pishue. “Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoon, along with Monday mid-day.”
In addition, travelers can expect higher gas prices and rental car shortages.
AutoSlash says that you can blame the pandemic for the imbalance between the supply and demand for rental cars available. Similarly, rates have dramatically spiked since 2019, with some prices jumping 300% in certain tourist hotspots. For example, Phoenix, Miami, and Las Vegas all saw premium pricing last month for rental cars.
If you do decide to skip the airport lines and take to the highway, gas isn’t exactly on the cheap side. As of Tuesday, the national average was $3.10 per gallon, and AAA predicts it will rise another five cents before the Fourth of July weekend is up.
As for airports, prices are holding firm to pre-pandemic prices, while international travel is down $77 from two years ago.
“For July 4, we’re expecting about 2-2.1 million people, so that’s up about 250,000 each day from Memorial Day weekend,” Damodaran said.
And where are people heading? AAA and Hopper agree that Las Vegas and Orlando will be the busiest cities. This is based on online search traffic, hotel, and car rental bookings. Other theme park capitals, like Anaheim, California, came in at the second busiest area.