PHOENIX - Travelers are hitting the road for the Fourth of July weekend.
According to figures from the AAA, the Fourth of July weekend for 2021 has the second highest travel volume on record, with an estimated 47 million people traveling across the country for this holiday weekend.
"The record was in 2019, so we are right back to pre-pandemic levels when it comes to Fourth of July," said Sergio Avila with AAA Arizona.
In Arizona, just over 850,000 people will be travelling.
Driving appears to be the preferred way to travel
Officials with AAA say the vast majority of people traveling this year – 90% – are driving to their destination, even with gas prices at their highest level in seven years.
"High gas prices don’t typically deter people from taking their trip, but they will cut corners during their trip," said Avila. "Maybe they will stay at a budget friendly hotel, eat out less."
Top destinations in the region include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego. AAA officials say with so many people driving, drivers should make sure their car is ready and has been checked, especially in this heat.
"It is a huge travel weekend because I’ll tell you, it’s been a crazy year not because of COVID but because of other issues, so we are excited to get on the road," said Carol Weinstein.
Airports remain busy
According to AAA officials, 3.5 million people are planning to fly, meaning air travel volumes are expected to reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
"It’s exciting to see travelers return as they feel comfortable, and we’re happy to welcome them," said Heather Shelbrack, a spokesperson for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Shelbrack says travellers still need to obey COVID-related restrictions that are in place.
"We are still under a Federal mask mandate. Masks are required in all airport facilities. We are encouraging social distancing," said Shelbrack.
Sky Harbor officials are also reminding travellers to check their bags for prohibited items, such as fireworks.
Alyssa Restifo says it has been a tough year, but she is excited to get back to traveling.
"It was good to see everyone out and about. I wish we can get rid of the mask, but we’ll see how it goes," said Restifo.
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