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Expect busy roads and airports as Independence Day travel surges

AAA says nearly 48 million people are expected to travel this weekend
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AAA says nearly 48 million people are expected to travel this weekend

Many Americans will be wearing their red, white, and blue away from home this holiday weekend, as travel forecasts predict a surge of people on the roads and in airports.

Elizabeth Carey from AAA said high gas prices and inflation are not going to keep millions from enjoying a holiday vacation.

"Despite things costing more, people are finding a way to get out and about and enjoy that family time and enjoy that vacation,” said Carey.

AAA predicts nearly 48 million people will travel 50 miles or more to celebrate the Fourth of July. Carey said drivers should be ready for roads to start getting busy as early as Thursday.

“With the holiday being on a Monday, we do see a lot of people making a longer vacation out of it,” said Carey. “Rather than just the weekend, they’re saying, ‘Let’s make it into a weeklong vacation,’ or, ‘This is going to kick off our summer vacation.”

And Trooper Jack Keller from the New York State Police is reminding travelers to drive safely. Keller said police will be out in full force, making sure drivers are sober, off of their cell phones, and obeying the move over law.

"Drivers must use care when approaching an emergency vehicle or a hazard vehicle, including police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, construction and maintenance vehicles, and tow trucks,” said Keller.

AAA said three and a half million people are expected to head to the airports, putting more strain on airlines already struggling to maintain staff and avoid cancellations.

AAA’s Brian Murray said if timing is important, give yourself as much of a cushion as you can.

"If you do have that wedding or that event you want to get to or a cruise that you're traveling to, typically, we would suggest that you go in a day early to make sure you're there,” said Murray. “Now we're suggesting at least two days early, quite possibly three."

Murray said Orlando and New York City are expected to be popular Independence Day vacations. So are places like Paris and Rome, as bookings for international destinations are up 252 percent.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.