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Travel experts expect more last-minute travelers to brave the SC traffic

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 7:55 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 3, 2021 at 1:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gases prices are up, hotels are booked, and traffic is expected to be worse than last year, but despite all that more than 600,000 South Carolinians are expected to hit the road this holiday weekend.

“Road trips reign supreme,” said AAA Director of Communications Tiffany Wright.

Wright said people are still eager to get out of town and are more likely than ever to plan a vacation last minute.

“We are still in this wait-and-see travel trend...some people haven’t decided if they are going to travel or not some people are waiting until this weekend to decide if they are going to go,” Wright said.

But if someone is making a last-minute trip to a South Carolina city, especially somewhere on the coast, the SC Dept. of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism says they may have a hard time finding a place to stay. According to the agency’s data, hotels are more packed this weekend than they were this time pre-pandemic.

“2019 was actually a record-breaking year so for us in 2021 to be beating some of the numbers in recent weeks is a really good indicator that things are improving,” spokesperson Sam Queen said.

SC Highway Patrol Trooper David Jones said his fellow officers are on alert and ready for the busy travel season but are still urging people to be cautious.

“We are asking people to do their part. Last year [over the Fourth of July weekend] 11 lives were lost. That’s 11 families, 11 doorbells that were rung,” he said.

Jones said staying safe on the road and not being pulled over is simple: wear a seatbelt, don’t text and drive, don’t speed, and don’t drive under the influence.

To avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic, AAA recommends avoiding “peak times.”

Specifically, the company recommends traveling after 2:00PM Saturday, anytime on Sunday, and before 1:00 PM on Monday.

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