GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – For many who traveled to celebrate Independence Day, July 5th is a designated travel day to head back home, causing roads to be more congested than they were last year during the pandemic.

“Traveling on a Monday after 4th of July on a Sunday yeah it’s been really crazy on the roads,” David Fenton said, as he stopped to get gas in Greenville on the way home from vacation.

AAA predicted that nearly 1.4 million North Carolinians and 688,500 South Carolinians would take a trip during the holiday weekend. That’s the second-most on record, and 35% more than the 2020 holiday period. Drivers in Greenville agreed that interstates seemed more crowded.

“Travel is back this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue vacations they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day.”

This comes at the same time that gas prices have been on the rise across the country, the highest on record since 2014, according to AAA.

Drivers on the road said gas prices did not affect their travel decisions, and the fact that this 4th of July was on a Sunday after COVID-19 restrictions have loosened was extra incentive to get out of the house and travel.

“We didn’t do anything last year for the 4th,” driver Heather Steinmetz said as she was heading to Greenville. “So this year it was nice to be able to go out do things with family and watch fireworks and get out and do the things we didn’t do last year.”

AAA also estimated road trips will continue to dominate this summer. It said that the best time to travel on a Monday is typically before 1 p.m. and the worst time is between 4 and 5 p.m. along with these suggestions:

AAA advice

GSP airport added that travel was up this weekend for the holiday with 24,000 travelers, which is 80% of what the airport saw in 2019 before the pandemic.