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Local News

AAA: More Travelers On The Road For July 4th Weekend

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The number of  Americans hitting the road this Independence Day weekend is expected to be up 0.07% compared to last year, according to AAA.

The auto club projects 41.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the holiday weekend, which runs from Wednesday July 1 to Sunday July 5. AAA’s Mark Jenkins says 85%, or about 35 million travelers, will drive to their destinations.

“The reason we’re expecting more travelers this Independence Day is because of rising incomes, which is being driven by a strong employment market right now,” said Jenkins. “Gas prices are going to be about the lowest this time of year in about five years.”

AAA reports self-serve regular averages around $2.69 per gallon across Florida. In the Pensacola area, it’s $2.71, a penny more than last month and 92 cents a gallon less than a year ago.

Jenkins says this Independence Day will see the most travelers, on the ground and in the air, since the great recession. That in turn will continue to stimulate the economy, and the travel industry as a whole. And it’s usually the busiest summer travel holiday.

“Unlike Memorial Day and Labor Day, Independence Day, people aren’t worried about getting back in time for class, so they can take an extended vacation,” Jenkins said.

Also out on the road in force is law enforcement. Lt. Steve Preston with the Florida Highway Patrol says as always, they’re targeting dangerous drivers. An extra FHP presence will be on the road, with some troopers swapping desks for cruisers.

Travelers will encounter moderately higher lodging rates and airfares this Independence Day according to AAA’s Mark Jenkins. He says there are numerous ways to stretch your vacation dollars.

•        Book hotel rooms through travel agencies.

•        If possible, bundle hotel, airfare and a rental car.

•        Stay alert for fluctuations in room rates.

•        Contact hotels online, such as social networks.

Travelers can visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. And for those who overdo it, the auto club once again offers its “Tow2Go” program. That number to call is (855) 286-9246.