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Fewer people to vacation over Fourth of July holiday
Americans vacationing in numbers similar to previous year
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Average Georgia unleaded gas price for July 4

2008: $4.02

2009: $2.47

2010: $2.62

2011: $3.46

2012: $3.13

Source: AAA

Travel plans for many Americans remain similar to 2012, though fewer people are choosing to take their time off over the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

A slight decrease in July 4 travel plans is expected this year, according to information released by auto club AAA.

The 40.8 million projection of Americans traveling 50 or more miles over next week’s long holiday weekend is less than a 1 percent decrease from the 41.1 million who traveled in 2012.

AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said people may be deciding to take vacation at a different time this summer due to the shortened holiday weekend, with July 4 falling on a Thursday as opposed to a Wednesday in 2012. “We have a five-day holiday period versus a six-day (period) last year,” she said. “So that allows for less travel time.”

Other than next week’s five-day weekend, Brady said the travel numbers are “very good.”

“(The numbers) did show more people plan to vacation and travel this summer than last,” she said. “So, it may just be that people are taking vacations over the summer, and not during the peak holiday weekends.”

Of those 40.8 million traveling next week, around 1.1 million are expected to be from Georgia.

While traveling by vehicle is expected to decrease from last year, there is an anticipated slight increase in air travel, specifically over the July 4 weekend.

Still, 84 percent of those taking a trip next week will be on the roads.

They may find gas prices up slightly from last year. AAA data show that the Georgia average for July 4, 2012, was $3.13 for unleaded.

According to the current state average is $3.42.

Christy Miller is one of those who plans to drive for her summer vacation, planning to go to Destin, Fla., not for Independence Day but by the end of July.

She said that gas prices and other economic factors didn’t impact her travel plans.

“It didn’t hinder us from taking the trip,” she said. “We just decided it’s still more reasonable than flying.”

For Caroline Sommer, visiting from Massachusetts, increasing costs have determined her summer plans. Sommer and her two daughters, Avery and Kendall, flew to Georgia to spend time with family in the Gainesville area, but travel prices have led to the Sommers’ staying closer to home during the rest of the summer.

“We haven’t really planned on going anywhere besides the beach,” Sommer said, noting that the beach is only a 7-mile trip from her house in Massachusetts.

While some people remain careful with spending and vacations, Brady said she doesn’t think the economy is factoring into vacationing decisions in 2013 as much as in years past.

“I will say also, rental car rates, hotel rates, airfares and even actually the cost of gas is more expensive this year than last year, yet we’re still seeing approximately the same amount of people traveling,” she pointed out.

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