Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pent-up Travel Demand Boosts Holiday Trips to Pre-Pandemic Levels, say New York Travel Experts

Zac Wasielewski Flickr Page
More than 43 million travelers will take to the roadways for a holiday trip this Independence Day, not deterred by the highest gas prices in seven years.

The pent-up desire to travel means Central New Yorkers will be among the 47.7 million Americans taking to the nation’s roads and skies over the five-day Independence Day travel period, which began Thursday. AAA estimates that overall travel volume will reach pre-pandemic levels, but spokesperson April Engram says those taking road trips will be the highest on record.

“Despite the highest gas prices we have seen in 7 years, more than 91% of holiday travel will be by car. The higher gas prices will not deter road trippers this summer.”

Gas prices are averaging around $3.15 per gallon in the Syracuse area, and continue to rise. Engram says easing travel restrictions due to higher vaccination rates have increased demand worldwide, which is pushing up crude oil prices. With a record number of people hitting the roads, she says to traffic jams are inevitable. But there are some ways to avoid them.

“Travel early in the day if you can, or travel later in the evening just to avoid that main congestion. Also plan an alternate route to get to your destinations just to avoid those high impact corridors. And of course, have patience because, you know what, it is the holiday season and no matter what, you will run into more traffic now, especially coming out of the pandemic.”

Experts say to be prepared for being stuck in traffic by having enough gas, food, and water.

Air travel expected to rebound this holiday period, though grounded planes and flight crews could make existing flights crammed.

While most people are traveling by car…typical for a summer holiday, AAA travel director Brian Murray says those taking to the airways are still encountering some reduced schedules as airlines continue to adjust to increasing passenger volume.

“They’re really working to get a lot of their parked planes back in service. It is a process. They’ve had furloughed cabin crew and furloughed pilots, and what they have to do is, they have to go through refresher training before they can get back in the air.”

Murray says for that reason, airports are busy, and ongoing shortages of TSA agents are also adding to longer wait times. He recommends travelers arrive earlier than usual, especially on return flights from bigger airports. Overall, travel experts say flexibility and patience will be key given the increasing volume of travel and resulting congestion on roads and airports.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at