By Jan Carabeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This holiday weekend is shaping up to be the busiest travel weekend since the start of the pandemic. Whether by air or firmly on the ground, Philly is on the move this Fourth of July weekend.

“I’m actually leaving the country and going to Croatia,” said Graduate Hospital resident Jonelle Georges.

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Alex Farhat of Graduate Hospital said, “I’ll be grounded. I’m going to the Jersey shore.”

And they will be far from alone.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says more than 660,000 people living in the Philadelphia five-county region will travel 50 miles or more during the Independence holiday weekend. That’s nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.

“The great American road trip has returned as 90% of all travelers will go by car and the car travel volume will set a record for the July 4th holiday weekend,” Jana Tidwell with AAA Mid-Atlantic public affairs, said.

But be prepared to pay more at the pump for that road trip.

AAA reports gas prices are also the highest they’ve been since 2014, with the national average likely to remain above $3 a gallon.

Meantime, at Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoints are buzzing once again.

At times with anxious travelers.

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“I am a little nervous though because this is my second time flying. Period,” Jazzmaine Fortune, of North Philly, said.

An expected 340,000 passengers are expected to come through PHL between Thursday and Monday.

Adding to the already extraordinary numbers at the airport over the last month.

“Seeing 2.4 million passengers in a month is the most we’ve seen since the pandemic began, and that’s just preliminary so it could increase,” PHL Director of Communication Florence Brown said.

Airport officials suggest budgeting two hours for domestic travel and three hours for those flying internationally.

Also, check before heading to the airport to make sure that flight isn’t delayed.

“Our flight was originally supposed to take off at 1:30 or so, but I got the alert at 11:30 that it was delayed two hours, so we just hung back home and relaxed,” Brian Austin, of North Philly, said.

Travel experts say the best time to travel is before noon. So, the early bird gets the worm as far as road trips go. At PHL airport, officials say parking there is extremely limited this summer season, so you may want to think about an alternative option as far as getting to the airport.

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Masks are still required inside the airport as well as on flights.