The weekend to officially kick off the summer is here, and so are new record numbers.
AAA projects nearly 51 million Americans will travel over the July 4th weekend, setting a record high number that jumps 3.7 percent compared to 2022.
For those expecting to leave Friday, two words: buckle up.
AAA also estimates Friday will be the busiest of the weekend, with average travel times nearly 30 percent above normal.
With the 47th annual Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks once again lighting the East River, New York City is expected to also be on the receiving end of that traveling surge.
"Commuters are going to mix with holiday travelers," said AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair, before adding, "you have to remember New York is a top destination. So you have a lot of people leaving, a lot of people coming here, it's going to be very busy."
Other than travels coming into the Big Apple, AAA predicts the following routes will also be the most congested this weekend: New York City to the Jersey Shore (via Garden State Parkway S); Boston to Hyannis, Mass. (via Pilgrim Hwy S); Washington, D.C. to Rehoboth Beach, Del. (via US-50 W).
Air travel volume is also expected to soar, as AAA projects a record-setting 4.17 million Americans will fly to their destinations for Independence Day weekend, which surpass the previous air travel record of 3.91 million travelers that was set during the 2019 holiday weekend.
Of course, those numbers come after cancellations and travel woes from earlier in the week delivered an ominous sign heading into the weekend.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose department includes the FAA, has been calling out these hiccups from airlines for more than a year. He has accused them of failing to live up to reasonable standards of customer service and suggested that they are scheduling more flights than they can handle.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby blamed a shortage of federal air traffic controllers for massive disruptions last weekend at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, a critical hub for his airline.
Over on the road, AAA says the worst travel times are the hours between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., which is said to be the busiest.
For those hoping to beat the jam-packed roads, they say after 6 p.m. on Friday is an optimal time frame, as well as before noon on Saturday.
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