NEW YORK — 43 million Americans are expected to travel this holiday weekend. According to AAA, that’s a record breaking number.
From the roads to the air to the rails, many are celebrating the Fourth with a trip away from home.
“There’s a lot of people, I think it’s frenetic in here,” said T. Donald Mead.
We found Mead navigating a bustling Grand Central, busier than normal on a Friday afternoon. Mead had just arrived from New Haven and was on his way to Pittsburgh.
“We drove to Stamford then we got a train from Stamford because we wanted to avoid the New York traffic so we got on a train with all these bags,” said Tessa Stewart.
Stewart, along with her four teenage children, were part of the throngs of people at Grand Central. The family is from New Zealand and they’ve decided to spend the weekend in the Big Apple.
“The children have never been to New York,” Stewart said. “The girls want a show, maybe see the Empire State Building. We’ll see the views and catch some Broadway shows.”
Over at LaGuardia Airport, there was surprisingly a much calmer scene. Lines at the ticket counters were moving freely. We found many travelers opting to use the self-ticketing kiosks.
“I feel I’m gonna get through security pretty quickly. It’s really looking like a normal day. It’s looking like a Tuesday as opposed to Friday,” said Flip Croft-Cadero.
Cadero and his friend, Sydney Maners, are heading to Dallas.
“It was a little slow to get here but not so bad,” said Croft-Cadero.
Flyers are budgeting extra time, expecting long TSA lines and heightened security in light of this week’s terror attack at an airport in Turkey.
“We left 30 minutes earlier,” said Maners.
According to AAA, travel volume this Fourth of July is the highest on record with a whopping 43 million Americans traveling.
Of that number, 3.1 million are New Yorkers. 1.3 million from New Jersey.
This year, the Independence Day weekend is considered Thursday June 30 to Monday July 4.
Fueling the big rush are low fuel prices.
The majority of those 43 million travelers will be getting in their cars.
“Just stopped to get gas. So far, not so bad, I’m heading out to the Hamptons,” one man told us at a rest stop along the Grand Central Parkway.
AAA says gas prices are the cheapest they’ve been since 2005.
The national average is $2.32 a gallon for regular unleaded. That’s 48 cents less than last year.
The New York State average is $2.44 a gallon, down 52 cents from last year.
The average in New Jersey is $2.15 a gallon. That’s a 50 cent drop from last year.
“We go back to Dallas and I’ll drive an hour to a lake,” Maners said. “I’m not going anywhere else, not getting back on a plane!”
Experts advise the best time to leave over a long holiday weekend is Saturday or Sunday morning. The worst time is Friday early evening.
As for going home on Monday?
The busiest time on the roads will be Monday between 5 p.m. and midnight.