There are many options for 4th of July weekend travel plans. People get out on the road and head for the family’s favorite beach, forest, park or mountaintop. Others with more ambitious plans book flights to exotic lands, posh resorts, sunny isles and other distant destinations.
However, one possibility is to do it all in your own backyard or at a nearby one set up by a family member or friend. That way you’ll all enjoy a real, no hassle, down-home picnic or barbecue. If that’s your 4th of July weekend plan, you can be assured you won’t have to endure airline delays, baggage hauling, security scrutiny, gridlocked traffic and jacked-up holiday prices for it all.
If you and your gang insist on doing the traditional 4th of July travel routine, a few tips may ease your way through the busy weekend with less trouble, some savings and possibly more enjoyment.
1. Get up and get out early: If you’re driving or flying, start your weekend on Thursday, July 1, or Friday, July 2. The roads and airports will be less crowded, and you may find flight ticket prices lower. Also, if you’ll be on the road, maybe the guys at the gas station haven’t yet posted their sky-high 4th of July weekend prices.
You can also stretch the weekend out, so that you don’t have to travel until
Tuesday, July 6. Monday, the 5th, is the national holiday, so everyone else will be in the air or on the road that day and night.
2. Do the red eye route: If you’ll be flying, check with your airline or travel agency about night schedules. Usually, ticket prices are cheaper, airports are not as busy and road traffic is lighter, if your flight is scheduled for one a.m. or later. If your flight is more than three hours long, take along comfy clothes and an eyeshade and use the time to get some sleep. Then you’ll be fresh for the festivities of the holiday when you arrive at your destination. Make your return flight a red eye, too.
3. Drive by night: The same applies to holiday traffic on the roads. Late night roads are much less crowded. If you’re traveling with other adult family members, set up a schedule of each to drive in two- or three-hour shifts, so that you can keep going while the next driver sleeps in the back seat.
4. Driving vs flying: Consider the reality that a six-hour road trip involves about the same amount of time on the clock as a three-hour flight, considering all the extra waiting air travel entails. And better yet, driving takes everyone door to door in one comfy vehicle, with no lugging luggage, security checks, schedule delays and everything else about flying that stretches out the hours and patience.
5. Get up and go if you have the dough: If you live near a port city or can get there conveniently, try a July 4th weekend cruise. Considering cruises are all inclusive, they can actually be cheaper and more convenient than going to a hotel or resort. Also, once aboard, there are no worries about traffic, airport hassles and delays.
Travel on the 4th of July weekend can be fun for everyone. All it takes is some smart pre-planning and ability to keep ahead of what everyone else is doing during those busy, busy days.