ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Travelers are out in droves in what experts predict could set records for the Fourth of July weekend. New Mexicans are ready to get back to living life. With a suitcase in one hand and flight tickets in another, Albuquerque families are ready to travel and get out of town for the holiday weekend.
“Miami, actually,” said traveler Daniel Nakitare.
“Heading to Cleveland to visit family,” sad another traveler, Lynn Lesperance.
After a stressful year and a half during the pandemic, travelers are ready for some serious rest and relaxation. “My husband and I traveled once before,” said Lesperance. “We have property in Florida. We went down to do some maintenance, so really this is the first pleasure trip since the pandemic.”
Others are catching up on big parties that once were banned. “A friend’s bachelor’s party,” said Nakitare.
“All the indicators are pointing to leisure travel recovering faster and sooner than business travel but that’s doubling what we’re seeing through here,” said Stephanie Kitts with the Albuquerque International Sunport. This time last year, the Sunport was pretty empty as people were encouraged to only travel for essential business. Now, things are looking more normal.
“Our latest seven-day average we averaged just under 13,000 passengers a day,” said Kitts. “In comparison to pre-pandemic levels where we used to see somewhere between 16 and 18,000 so that puts us down just at 26 percent.”
Nationwide, 3.5 million Americans are flying this weekend. Ninety percent of what was seen before COVID-19. If you decide to get out of town this weekend by car, gas prices in the area have been noticeably higher. Averaging about a dollar more per gallon compared to this time last year. AAA said it’s the most expensive gas has been on July 4th in seven years.
Other travelers said they’re just excited to get out and about, unlike the last Fourth of July holiday. Almost 48 million Americans are expected to travel this weekend, most of them on the road.