Life is returning to pre-pandemic norms in several ways in the United States, and one is expected to be shown this weekend.
According to AAA, 47.7 million Americans will travel from July 1-5 in connection with Independence Day. That figure is just shy of the record number of travelers for the July 4 holiday period of 48.9 million, which was recorded in 2019, while that projected 2021 figure would be a 40% increase on the 34.2 million who traveled during this time a year ago.
Of the 47.7 million expected to travel this weekend, 91.4% are expected to take an automobile, 7.3% are expected to fly, and 1.3% are expected to take a different form of transit, such as a bus, train or boat.
AAA recommends drivers avoid traveling between 4 and 5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday or Monday while also expecting traffic to be busy mid-day on Saturday. Conversely, traveling on Thursday evening, Friday morning and Monday morning are encouraged as is Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, travelers who are taking public transportation should note that masks remain required while on them.
The motor club has also reported that mid-range hotel rates have increased 32-35% and daily car rental rates have increased 86% from a year ago while airfares have decreased 2% in that same time span.
Those driving should account for high gas prices. On Monday, the nationwide average was $3.09 a gallon. That figure is 42% and 92 cents higher than it was a year ago. This increase is believed to be the result of the U.S. economy recovering as a whole, sparking mass interest in traveling and a significant amount of demand for gas to fuel those trips.
Many do expect gas prices to decrease later this summer once the market adjusts to the increased interest, but another price jump is expected this weekend before it settles.
The driving force behind Americans returning to pre-pandemic norms in this and other areas of their lives is the increasing vaccination rate within the country. Nearly half of Americans – 46% – are fully vaccinated with an additional 8% having received at least one dose.