Record number of road-trippers gearing up for July 4

June 27, 2016

Are you preparing to hit the road this holiday weekend? You're not alone: according to AAA, a record number of Americans will be joining you.

How many, exactly? AAA predicts that 43 million folks will head to beaches, mountains, or any other place they can avoid seeing the allegedly disastrous Independence Day: Resurgence. That's the fourth-highest number of July 4 travelers on record.

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Of the total, some 84 percent--over 36 million people--plan to drive to their destination. Another eight percent (3.3 million travelers) will drag carry-ons to their local airports, with most of the remainder getting to Point B via train, bus, or cruise ship.

Why is it such a busy holiday this year?

For starters, July 4 is nestled up against a weekend. As a result, many people have planned to take off work not just on Monday and Tuesday, but this Friday, too.

Gas prices are also very, very low. In fact, fuel hasn't been this cheap at this time of year since 2005. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline currently stands around $2.31, or 47 cents cheaper than it was in 2015. Year-to-date, Americans have spent about $20 billion less on gas than they did during the same period of 2015.

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Lodging is slightly less expensive this July 4, too. According to AAA, its Three Diamond hotels currently average about $185 per night, while Two Diamond properties ring in at $144.

Of course, the downside of all that good news is that the roads are apt to be more congested. Wherever you're headed, be prepared for whatever might befall you. Bring jumper cables, flat fixer, sunscreen, and of course, a heaping helping of patience.

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