DC-area travelers expected to set Fourth of July weekend record

WASHINGTON — If you plan to leave town over the long Fourth of July weekend, you’ll likely help set a record. 

AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts more than 1.1 million people in the greater Washington area will travel at least 50 miles from home between Friday, June 30 and Tuesday, July 4.

That would be about 3 percent more than last year and the largest number since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2001.

Almost nine out of 10 of those travelers, or 967,600 people, are expected to drive to their Independence Day destinations.

About 80,600 are likely to fly, and AAA thinks 61,100 will use other modes of travel.

Nationally, 44.2 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home over July Fourth, with 37.5 million going by car.

On a positive note, road tripping might cost a bit less this year.

AAA says a check of the average price of gas in the D.C. region earlier this week was 8 cents cheaper than a year ago, at $2.23 a gallon. The national average price of gas stands at $2.25, a 6 cent drop from last year.

If you need to rent a car to make your escape, a weekend car rental around the area now averages $48 a day, down from $78 last year.

AAA also found that the price of airfare to many top destinations for the holiday has fallen significantly. For instance, the group says flights from D.C. to New York now average $141, a drop of 48 percent from 2016, and a D.C. to Atlanta flight averages $145, down 24 percent.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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