Fourth of July holiday travel up from last year despite higher gas prices, flight cancellations

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Customer service agent Candace Russell loads suitcases on a conveyer belt at the Chattanooga Airport on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Near-record gasoline prices didn't keep Nicole Caradona and her two daughters from starting a getaway weekend Friday at the start of the July 4 holiday weekend.

But it did keep the Decatur, Georgia, family closer to home.

"We had been thinking about going up the East Coast to Maryland, but with higher gas prices we decided to travel a bit less and check out Chattanooga instead," Caradona said outside of Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain Friday afternoon. "From here we're headed to Nickajack Lake to go kayaking with some friends. There's just a lot to do here."

The Caradonas are among 42 million Americans who are expected to travel by car away from home over the three-day holiday weekend - the highest number ever projected by AAA for the Independence Day weekend.