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How to avoid the worst NYC 4th of July travel traffic

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Millions of Americans are expected to hit the road with 4th of July travel plans this year, so don't waste your holiday in traffic.

Hwo to avoid 4th of July traffic so you can enjoy the most out of your summer holiday. Photo: Getty Images

By Kristin Toussaint, Metro

New Yorkers are pretty accustomed to crowds, but even if you’re used to getting stuck in (foot) traffic on the subway stairs during your morning commute, you don’t want to waste the precious time of your 4th of July travel plans sitting bumper-to-bumper on the bridge.

According to AAA, nearly 47 million Americans will embark on some form of 4th of July travel 50 miles or more from their homes this year, and nearly 40 million of those travelers will be doing so by car.

Overall, that’s a 5 percent increase in people taking an Independence Day trip compared to last year and the highest number AAA has seen since it started tracking this info 18 years ago.

That surge in 4th of July travel has to do with strong economic variables, the insurance agency said, and the fact that the holiday falls on a Wednesday this year, “giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday.”

Whether you’re hitting the road for a 4th of July getaway before or after the official holiday, you want to avoid all that beach traffic. AAA and INRIX, a global transportation company, looked into what time to avoid starting your trek.

For New Yorkers, the worst time to embark on 4th of July travel is between 3:30 and 6:30 on Tuesday, July 3. During that window, traffic could make your trip a whopping 2.3 times longer than usual.

But the upcoming beach holiday doesn’t mean the city will be completely empty. Plenty of New Yorkers stay in town for the 4th of July, and some residents from nearby flood in. In fact, New York city is the top destination for 4th of July travel, according to HotelTonight, followed by Long Island.

And if you want another reason to convince your friends to spend the 4th of July in the city (rather than in traffic), there’s this: New York is ranked as the number one place to celebrate the 4th of July, according to Wallethub, thanks to its plethora of Independence Day attractions.

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