The world has been gradually re-opening as travelers try to put the pandemic behind them.
Fortunately or unfortunately, this means that there will be a huge upsurge in holiday travelers throughout 2023, including those traveling for Independence Day. This, in turn, could mean delays in getting home after the holiday.
Unprecedented Travel Numbers
AAA, the same American Automobile Association that provides assistance to members who get stranded on the side of the road with flat tires, is projecting huge numbers for Independence Day travel this year. They estimated there will be a 4 percent increase, meaning that there will be more than 51 million Americans going to other states or even other countries in their time off.
“We’ve never projected travel numbers this high for Independence Day weekend,” said senior vice president of AAA Travel, Paula Twidale.
On the surface, this would not seem like a surprising phenomenon since more people are freer to travel this summer than they have been for the past few years. But there is something strange about it: plane ticket costs are higher than ever, and there are fewer flights available. So why the massive crowds?
Travel experts theorize that people just simply want to get back out there and get moving again after having been stuck at home for the past few years. This upsurge in travelers is being seen as an indicator that the pandemic is officially behind us in terms of travel disruption, which could be a good sign for the tourism industry.
While traveling for the July 4th holiday is great, there are some things to keep in mind as you make your way back home — if you haven’t already encountered them. In addition to the flight shortages, thousands of flights have been canceled in recent days due to storms and technological issues at airports, and the overall vibe in the airport has not been great recently.
Some passengers were stranded at already busy airports for days when storms hit cities like New York, for example. Many stranded passengers blamed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who, in response, walked a diplomatic line between trying to placate customers and trying not to completely throw the airlines under the bus. “If you look at the overall picture, we’ve seen a lot of improvements,” he said about the air travel experience in general. “But we had a hard few days with severe weather at the beginning of [last] week, and that definitely put enormous pressure on the system.”
The key takeaway is that there is one extra thing you will need to pack on your trip back home after Independence Day, and that is patience. A busy airport is already stressful, but with storms, malfunctions, delays, and more passengers to contend with than ever, it is a recipe for a very nerve-wracking trip.