Knoxville (WVLT) - AAA is predicting less travelers on the roadways across the United States this Fourth of July weekend.
That, despite the Fourth falling on a Friday, which makes for a long weekend for many.
Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has the story.
The prediction is bad news, but it may actually be good news for East Tennessee. It's been many years since AAA has predicted a decline, but anyone who drives probably knows why.
"I feel like we're getting no relief in and they're saying there's no relief in sight," driver Greg Leach said.
Many people feel the frustrations that Greg Leach feels about the price of fuel. Those frustrations are felt by many people who are now making similar travel plans for the Fourth of July weekend.
"I travel so much during the year that we'll take the fourth of July at home for me to be with my family," driver Leo Ludsky said.
I don't think we're going anywhere next weekend. We will probably be having some friends for some cookouts, stuff like that," driver Thomas Collins said.
Home will be a popular travel destination this fourth of July. AAA predicts, nationally, a one point three percent decrease in travel this year because of fuel prices.
"This year we're down some. First time in a decade that we've actually predicted a decrease in holiday traffic one year over the next," AAA spokesman Don Lindsey said.
Some people are modifying how they travel. Melissa Betancourt is traveling to her hometown of Miami next weekend.
"Since I''ve lived here I've gone down to Miami about three or four times a year and this time I haven't gone yet so it will be my only one," driver Melissa Betancourt said.
AAA member Leo Ludsky only takes one trip a year and he's not giving that up all together.
"Well, might make a short trip rather than a two thousand mile trip but we still take a trip a year," Ludsky said.
Although there will be 550 thousand less travelers on the roads across the U.S., east Tennessee may benefit. AAA predicts the busiest travelers will be those 8 point 7 Southeasterners, travelers who are predicted to not go beyond five hundred miles.
"It could be good in the sense that it might help our local economy in the Smokies and surrounding area but we also have to watch for a lot of traffic," Lindsey said.
To make your Fourth of July trip a little cheaper, AAA has some tips:
If going to the beach, finding a place a little inland can save money. If traveling with more than one family, pool your money for a resort condominium or beach house.
Prepack food to take with you instead of eating out. Lindsey also says consider taking a bus or the train to get to where you are going can also save you money.
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