AAA predicts major jump in Fourth of July travelers

Providence, R.I. – AAA is predicting a more than 19 percent increase in the number of New Englanders traveling this holiday weekend when compared to the same time last year.

Lloyd Albert, of AAA of Southern New England, says 1.7 million New Englanders are heading away from home for the Fourth of July, outpacing national estimates.

"People have really held back given the tough economic times," Albert says. "They're finally reaching a tipping point here and saying, we want to get away,' and they're doing that in big, big numbers."

Albert says AAA travel agents are seeing double-digit jumps in reservations for cruises, vacation packages and online hotel bookings.

However, he says people are expected to spend less money this weekend than in previous years. Nationwide, AAA says nearly 35 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home. That's a more than 17 percent increase from last year.