Today kicks off busy July 4 holiday travel - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Today kicks off busy July 4 holiday travel

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BIRMINGHAM, AL -

The July 4th holiday travel period officially kicks off today.

"AAA Travel projects 40.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 41.1 million people who traveled last year," according to a news release. "The anticipated decline in holiday travel is predominantly due to a shorter holiday period. With the Fourth of July landing on a Thursday this year, the holiday period has returned to the standard five-day holiday, compared to the six-day period in 2012 when the holiday fell on a Wednesday. Decade-high travel volume occurred in 2007 when 42.3 million Americans traveled and the holiday also fell on a Wednesday. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7."

Highlights from 2013 AAA Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast include:

· Independence Day holiday travelers to total 40.8 million, a decrease of 0.8 percent from the 41.1 million who traveled last year

· Eighty-four percent of travelers (34.4 million) to travel by automobile, a decrease of 0.7 percent from 34.7 million last year

· Holiday air travel expected to increase slightly to 3.07 million from 3.06 million in 2012

· Independence Day holiday travel volume is expected to remain above the 13-year average of 38.9 million for this holiday

· The largest share of travelers (32 percent) will depart on Wednesday, July 3

· Sunday, July 7, is the most popular date of return for holiday trips with 38 percent planning to return that day

· The average traveler is expected to travel a round-trip distance of 613 miles and spend $747

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