Marylanders are expected to break travel records this Fourth of July, with more than a million people projected to hit the roads and take to the air for holiday vacations and celebrations, according to a forecast by AAA.
The automotive club projects that 1,036,400 Marylanders will travel between July 1 and July 5, the highest travel volume on record since 2001.
Despite the rising cost of gas, automobile travel is expected to set records as the most popular means of holiday travel in Maryland with an estimated 960,000 cars hitting the road for the Fourth of July weekend.
“In Maryland, the Great American Road Trip is the mode of choice for nearly 93% of travelers, which is also the highest auto travel volume on record for the state, besting the previous 2019 travel record by nearly 7%,” said Ragina C. Ali, public and government affairs manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic, in a news release.
Air travel in Maryland is expected to increase by 166.2% from 2020 numbers but remain 14% below the 2019 numbers for the weekend. Other means of travel, including bus, train and cruise travel, are projected to be higher than 2020 levels, but nearly 84% lower than 2019 numbers.
Maryland is not the only place expected to see a surge in travel this Fourth of July. Across the country, AAA forecasts travel for the July holiday weekend to close in on pre-pandemic numbers, with 47.7 million Americans traveling — the second-highest recorded travel volume for the weekend, second only to 2019.
The estimates for this Fourth of July are an almost 40% increase from last year’s travel numbers, when the COVID-19 pandemic slashed travel volume nationwide by more than 10 million people.
“Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” Ali said. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the unofficial kickoff of summer. All indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”
AAA also projects the highest number of road trips on record nationwide, with an estimated 43.6 million Americans driving, a 5% increase from the record set in 2019.
With a record number of cars expected on the road, AAA is projecting intense congestion heading into the holiday weekend, with metro areas potentially seeing drive times double.
“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 delay,” said Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst for traffic data analysis company INRIX, in a news release.
Pishue advises drivers to avoid traveling the Thursday and Friday leading into the weekend as well as Monday afternoon.