AAA Mid-Atlantic predicted more than 660,000 residents of southeastern Pennsylvania would travel this holiday, marking a 49% increase over the same weekend in 2020.
"I think people are anxious to get out with everything that's happened; they've been stuck inside, and now they have the opportunity," said David Taylor of Washington D.C., who was heading to New York to see his wife.
AAA Mid-Atlantic expected a 42% increase in road travel over 2020, even significantly exceeding 2019's numbers.
Like so many, Yatzi Thomas of Woodbridge, Va., and her children hadn't seen their family in New York in over a year, so they spent this holiday making up for the lost time.
"It was awesome. Awesome. We look forward to getting out on the road and doing more vacations because being in quarantine was not fun," said Thomas.
The number of passengers flying through Philadelphia International Airport this holiday was expected to increase fivefold from last Fourth of July weekend but still lags the same weekend in 2019.
"It's busy. It's a lot more people. Flights were packed," said Steve Donia of Exton, Pa., who returned from a family reunion in Hilton Head, S.C.
Masks are still required in airports and on planes as airlines struggle to restore the public's confidence in airline travel during the pandemic. The mask requirement is a federal policy in effect until September 13, 2021.
"I feel super comfortable traveling. Like I said, everyone's adhering to CDC guidelines," said Donavan McIntosh, Las Vegas.
Whether by plane or car, the rise in travel signals the long-awaited return to normalcy and perhaps a more patient perspective on the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Faced with sitting in a traffic jam on her way home from North Carolina, a relaxed Patrice Moore said, "We've got food, water, we've gone to the bathroom, filled up with gas. When we get home, we get home."