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Editorial: A busy week for travelers

Expect heavier traffic if you're planning to head out on the road this holiday week as the AAA Mid-Atlantic says more people will be traveling over this holiday than we have seen in more than a decade.

AAA defines the Fourth of July travel period as Tuesday through Sunday. This year, the agency says, 5.3 percent more Marylanders will be traveling than did so last year.

A lot of folks are taking advantage of July Fourth falling on Wednesday as an excuse to take off a couple more days, according to AAA.

About 725,000 residents are expected to take to the road for the holiday travel period. That's a 4.5 percent increase over last year, and the highest volume of residents traveling by this mode in more than a decade. As is typical with holiday travel, AAA says, the automobile is the dominant mode with nearly 86 percent of Marylanders choosing to hit the road for their getaway.

In addition, air travel is projected to increase by 10.3 percent, with 64,600 residents flying to their destination.

And getting to that destination, according to AAA, will be easier on the wallet than in the recent past.

According to a AAA survey, the median spending for residents is estimated at $962, which is a 7 percent decline over last year. A huge chunk of that has to do with lower gas prices, something the AAA says is also contributing to more people taking off. But vacationers are also scaling back on their spending.

According to the AAA survey, 39 percent of holiday travelers intend go between 401-700 miles; 17 percent expect to travel between 50- 250 miles; and 26 percent will log more than 700 miles.

The added number of drivers on the road, as well as more people in airports and bus stations means lines will probably be longer, and travelers should plan ahead and try to avoid peak times.

Above all, have a safe and enjoyable time whether you are taking a day, or several to celebrate the birth of our nation.

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