There are fewer things Americans love more than a holiday and, after being deprived of celebrating them to the fullest for the duration of the pandemic, each holiday that comes our way is bound to be celebrated like it’s our last from here on out.
With that in mind, the upcoming July 4th celebrations are bound to be warmly welcomed by Americans across the country, and for many, it may be the first time they have traveled since the pandemic began. From potentially record-breaking numbers on the move to a re-cap on pandemic plane journeys, here’s what you need to know when traveling for the Fourth.
It’s Going To Be Busy – Really Busy
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Fourth weekend is set to be really busy. This isn’t unexpected, as the number of people traveling has been steadily growing over the past few weeks, with the past week seeing an average of around 2 million travelers screened by the TSA daily. However, what is unexpected is the number of travelers expected to be on the move over the weekend.
That’s because the sheer number of travelers heading off for the holidays is expected to rival even the pre-pandemic record figures, showing not only confidence in traveling once more but the pent-up demand amongst American travelers. The American Automobile Association has estimated that a total of 48 million Americans will be traveling between the 1st and the 5th of July, numbers that were almost unthinkable this time last year.
Of those 48 million, around 44 million are expected to travel via car, showing perhaps that there is still a level of trepidation held by American travelers when it comes to air travel at present. For those planning a car journey, a transport analyst revealed that traveling between 13:00 – 17:00 on Friday is most likely to result in traffic bottlenecks, whilst the return leg on Monday is also expected to be congested.
Air Travel Has Changed – But Some Things Remain The Same
For some travelers, the pandemic may feel like it has dragged on for so long that they barely remember what it was like to travel on an airplane. Whilst some things may have changed, travelers will be relieved to find that mostly, it’s the same as it ever was – with just some small changes.
The wearing of masks may have been eased in several states across the country, however, the federal mask mandate for transportation has been extended until September, meaning they will still need to be worn when in the airport and on board a plane. Travelers should also make sure they reach the airport in good time, given the volume of passengers expected to fly this weekend.
There have also been changes to carry-on items. The TSA now allows full-sized sunscreen to be brought on board in carry-on baggage – providing it is declared to security officers – as it is now considered a medically necessary liquid. However, passengers expecting to have a drink or a meal on board may be disappointed, with airlines slashing their drinks services following disturbances on board. Passengers should also double-check that their flights are going ahead as scheduled. Following job cuts at the hands of the pandemic, the surge in the number of travelers had led to airlines not having enough staff to meet the demand, resulting in thousands of cancellations and delays.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories