About 1.5 million Michigan residents are expected to take a trip over the July 4th holiday weekend, the third-most on record, and 22% more than last year’s Independence Day period.
“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.”
While experts say most of that travel will be by car, they are warning travelers to pack their patience if they are planning to reach their destination by plane.
Here are some tips for air travel for the busy weekend:
Get to the airport two hours before your flight.
More than 2 million people per day are regularly passing through airport security checkpoints. Many people are out of practice traveling – meaning it may take them longer to check in their bag, get through Transportation Security Administration lines, board and so on.
What does that mean for you?
“The best advice would be if you’re flying out of a larger airport, get there two hours early,” said TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. “For a small airport, maybe 90 minutes.”
Forgoing checking a bag, or having services such as TSA PreCheck or CLEAR, may help you get through security quicker, but don’t use them as an excuse to cut your arrival time close.
Help move things along by making sure everything in your carry-on is TSA-approved. Getting your bag pulled to remove too-large toiletries or a wine key is going to slow down the security checkpoint line for everyone. If you’re not sure what items are allowed, visit TSA’s What Can I Bring? website, tweet them your question via @AskTSA or download the TSA app. And in case there’s any confusion: leave the fireworks at home.
Expect hassles, delays and hurdles – but be patient.
Traveler infrastructure is still catching up with the spike in demand, meaning your Fourth of July trip may not go as smoothly as you would like.
Across the United States, the hospitality industry is struggling to reopen and operate with the labor shortage. As a result, travelers are finding it difficult to get into restaurants. If you haven’t already, make reservations for your trip.
Then there’s the airport and flying.
“Just expect it to be an odious, miserable experience,” says Bryan del Monte, president of the Aviation Agency.
The Washington Post contributed to this report.