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A record number of Florida travelers are forecast to hit the road during Fourth of July weekend

Tampa International Airport

Despite the higher cost of gas, motorists taking to the road for Fourth of July weekend can expect some crowded highways.

According to AAA, Independence Day travel is expected to be the second busiest since 2000, with a record 2.3 million people taking road trips.

Around 2.6 million Floridians are expected to travel at least 50 miles from June 30 through July 4 — a 4% increase from last year and nearly the same number as before the coronavirus pandemic.

Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA, said the weekend will offer a reprieve for residents who are looking to take a break despite rising costs, and continues a trend of increased travel this year.

“The volume of travelers expected over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” Haas said in a press release. “Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it’s not tapering off.

"People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation.”

While an estimate from AAA shows around 2.3 million Floridians will travel by vehicle, air travel is forecast increase by 2% but remain below pandemic levels.

Haas said ongoing concerns about airline cancellations and delays could be deterring vacationers from scheduling flights.

“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” Haas said in the release. “But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn’t mean you have to abandon your vacation plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent who can help plan for the unexpected – like a flight cancelation. They are your best advocate.”

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Carl Lisciandrello