Travel up, spending down for 4th of July

July 2, 2010 (CHICAGO) AAA Chicago reports the number of Americans traveling over the Fourth of July weekend is up 17.1-percent from last year.

An expected 34.9 million travelers will take a trip at least 50 miles from home. In Illinois, 2 million people will travel between July 1 and July 5. Most will be driving.

The skies around Chicago have been busy all day as people leave town.

"People are a little more optimistic about the direction of the economy. So whereas in past years they have held onto their money and you heard about the 'staycations,' this year they've decided they're going to spend some money and go away on a little bit of a trip," said Nick Jarmusz, AAA Chicago.

Still, according to AAA, while many people are traveling, they are also spending less money doing so either by staying close to home, going on camping trips or driving rather than flying.

"We have been doing car trips really with all the family. It's easier and cheaper than flying," said Todd Goetsch, who was on his way to Wisconsin.

" We were intending to go up to Wisconsin for the week…on the lake, we rented a house. So the kids are looking forward to it," said Celene Platt.

But people are still flying. Both O'Hare and Midway estimate that around 1.4 million people will go through both airports over the course of the holiday weekend. At O'Hare Friday things were busy but most flights were on schedule. In fact, more people were having trouble getting to the airport than anything else.

"We're going to New Orleans for the Essence Fest, a big event with concerts and parties and we got down here a little bit late because traffic was terrible…now we got to catch a standby flight at 6:45 p.m.," said Chris McIntos.

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