Bridge 270 (copy)

Traffic travels across the Interstate 270 bridge over Md. 85.

While Memorial Day may get all of the attention, the Fourth of July is the summer’s busiest travel holiday, according to AAA.

More than a million Marylanders are expected to travel over the July Fourth holiday weekend, with an estimated 898,000 of them driving, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. Around the country, a projected 48.9 million Americans will hit the road between Wednesday, July 3, and Sunday, July 7.

The fact that July Fourth is on a Thursday may lead to more travelers than usual, with many people taking off Friday for a four-day weekend, said Ragina Ali, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. Gov. Larry Hogan gave state employees Friday off as part of the holiday weekend.

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest travel day of the holiday, as travelers mix with commuters getting home from work around metropolitan areas, Ali said.

Memorial Day is typically known as the start of summer, but July Fourth usually sees more travel, since kids are out of school, she said. This year, 918,000 Marylanders were expected to travel on Memorial Day, compared with the projected 1.033 million travelers for the upcoming holiday weekend.

While most July Fourth getaways tend to be shorter and by car, summer is a busy time for travel all around, with schools out, said Linda Cleveland, manager at Antietam Travel Services. Summer brings a lot of cruises, to spots including Canada, New England and Bermuda, she said.

Europe is also a popular destination, including the Mediterranean, London, Paris, Italy and Greece, Cleveland said. But summer in the European capitals tend to be crowded, with both international tourists and Europeans on holiday. So some tourists travel to Europe in the in-between seasons of April and May or September and October, she added.

No matter how long or short the trip, Ali suggested that drivers should always make sure their vehicles are road-ready, and get their battery, tire pressure, and other basics checked, she said.

Over last year’s July Fourth holiday, AAA Mid-Atlantic rescued 9,500 in Maryland, and expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists nationwide this year.

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Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

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