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More travelers gear up for Independence Day - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Record number of travelers hit the road for July 4th

(RNN) - If you're going somewhere for the Fourth of July, you're not alone - in fact, you're among the most people to travel for the holiday since 2007.

The AAA expects 42.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Independence Day, tying the record set in 2007 for the most number of Fourth of July travelers in the 2000s. The prediction is nearly 4 percent higher than last year's and nearly 50 percent more than in 2009.

According to Bill Sutherland, vice president of AAA Travel Services, the spike in travel is "fed by Americans' appetite for travel, a mid-week holiday and lower gas prices."

Numbers from the AAA's Fuel Gauge Report showed the average national price for a gallon of gas is $3.41 this week, 10 cents cheaper than a week ago and 18 cents cheaper than last year.

The national average price for gas hasn't hit such a low mark since Jan. 28.

A survey from AAA also found the average distance Americans plan to travel has increased by 150 miles, with the average traveler going 723 miles from home.

Most travelers - 35.5 million of them - will be traveling by car.

Meanwhile, stable airfares and the long, mid-week holiday will get 3.2 million Americans off the ground and traveling by airplane. The rest will travel by rail, bus or cruise ship.

"This is the second holiday this year where travelers indicated a determination to travel while economizing by actively seeking value-added travel options and activities," Sutherland said.

During the Memorial Day weekend, AAA said 34.8 million people hit the roads - an increase from last year's numbers.

"A healthy travel industry is critical to the overall well-being of our economy and consistent increases in travel are encouraging," Sutherland said.

While travel numbers have hit multiple highs, the amount people are spending for their trips has gone down. The median amount travelers are shelling out is expected to be about $750, a seven percent decrease from last year's spending numbers.

As in previous years, a number of local AAA clubs are offering "Tipsy Tow," for drivers who've had a bit too much to drink. The service gives people a free tow and a ride home.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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