Millions of people will be attending parades, barbecues, and fireworks shows in the U.S. on the Fourth of July. If you're one of them, traveling to your festivities will likely be a hassle. Lifehacker reports that AAA expects 48.9 million people to be in transit on July 4, 2019—a 4.1 percent increase from last year and a new Independence Day record. Traffic may be unavoidable in some cases, but with a bit of planning, you can make your holiday travel as painless as possible.
In a recent report, AAA broke down the worst times to leave the house for people traveling by car from 10 major cities this week. Wednesday July 3—the day before Independence Day—will be the worst travel day for people leaving from New York, San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Early- to mid-afternoon is projected to be the worst times to hit the road that day in all four cities. Travelers starting their journeys in New York between 1:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. that day should expect especially brutal traffic conditions, with AAA predicting delays lasting up to 3.8 times as long as they normally would.
The day of the Fourth itself will also see delays in many parts of the country. Thursday is predicted to be the worst travel day of the week in Seattle and Detroit. In Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago, the day after will see the longest delays, and in Washington, D.C., travelers should avoid heading home in the late morning and early afternoon on Sunday. You can see the rest of AAA's projections of the worst dates and times to travel from 10 major U.S. cities below.
1. Atlanta // Friday, July 5, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
2. Boston // Friday, July 5, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2. Chicago // Friday, July 5, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3. Detroit // Wednesday, July 3, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
4. Houston, Texas // Thursday, July 4, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
5. Los Angeles // Wednesday, July 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
6. New York // Wednesday, July 3, 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
7. San Francisco // Wednesday, July 3, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
8. Seattle // Thursday, July 4, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
9. Washington, D.C. // Sunday, July 7, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
These times only apply to car travel, which means people taking a flight the week of the Fourth of July have a different list of factors to worry about. Here are some tips for making it through the airport that can be used on July 4 or any other busy travel day.
Learn more about AAA here.