Traveling for the Fourth of July? Here Are the Worst Times to Leave Your House

iStock/Marcos Assis
iStock/Marcos Assis

Millions of people will be attending parades, barbecues, and fireworks shows in the U.S. on the Fourth of July. If you're one of them, traveling to your festivities will likely be a hassle. Lifehacker reports that AAA expects 48.9 million people to be in transit on July 4, 2019—a 4.1 percent increase from last year and a new Independence Day record. Traffic may be unavoidable in some cases, but with a bit of planning, you can make your holiday travel as painless as possible.

In a recent report, AAA broke down the worst times to leave the house for people traveling by car from 10 major cities this week. Wednesday July 3—the day before Independence Day—will be the worst travel day for people leaving from New York, San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Early- to mid-afternoon is projected to be the worst times to hit the road that day in all four cities. Travelers starting their journeys in New York between 1:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. that day should expect especially brutal traffic conditions, with AAA predicting delays lasting up to 3.8 times as long as they normally would.

The day of the Fourth itself will also see delays in many parts of the country. Thursday is predicted to be the worst travel day of the week in Seattle and Detroit. In Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago, the day after will see the longest delays, and in Washington, D.C., travelers should avoid heading home in the late morning and early afternoon on Sunday. You can see the rest of AAA's projections of the worst dates and times to travel from 10 major U.S. cities below.

1. Atlanta // Friday, July 5, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
2. Boston // Friday, July 5, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2. Chicago // Friday, July 5, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3. Detroit // Wednesday, July 3, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
4. Houston, Texas // Thursday, July 4, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
5. Los Angeles // Wednesday, July 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
6. New York // Wednesday, July 3, 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
7. San Francisco // Wednesday, July 3, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
8. Seattle // Thursday, July 4, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
9. Washington, D.C. // Sunday, July 7, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

These times only apply to car travel, which means people taking a flight the week of the Fourth of July have a different list of factors to worry about. Here are some tips for making it through the airport that can be used on July 4 or any other busy travel day.

[h/t Lifehacker]

Highclere Castle—the Real-Life Downton Abbey—Is Available to Rent on Airbnb

Highclere Castle, used as the setting for Downton Abbey
Highclere Castle, used as the setting for Downton Abbey
Emily_M_Wilson/iStock via Getty Images

Have you ever wanted to spend a night in a castle? And not just any castle—the Downton Abbey castle, Highclere Castle? On November 26, one lucky couple will get the opportunity to relive the TV show and movie, when castle owners Lady and Lord Carnarvon will cordially invite one person and their guest of choice to spend the night in the castle, which is located in Hampshire, England—about 45 miles west of London. On October 1 (Airbnb reservations go live at noon BST) anyone with a verified profile, positive reviews, and passion for Downton Abbey can vie for the opportunity. Even though the castle has 300 rooms, they are only making one bedroom available, for $159.

Upon arrival, the royals will host cocktails with the guests in the saloon. Visitors will hear stories from more than 300 years of Highclere Castle history (construction on the castle began in 1679, and has been in the Carnarvon family ever since).

“I am passionate about the stories and heritage of Highclere Castle and I am delighted to be able to share it with others who have a love of the building and its history,” Lady Carnarvon said in the Airbnb listing.

The Earl and Countess will host a dinner for the guests in the state dining room, and afterwards have coffee in the library. Before bed, the guests’ butler will escort them to their gallery bedroom. The next morning, guests will receive a complimentary breakfast, a private tour of the 100,000-square foot castle and 1000-acre grounds, and a special gift from the Carnarvons. (Airbnb will also make a donation to The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.)

It should be noted the castle doesn’t have Wi-Fi or central air, but it does have fireplaces and central heat. There are a few rules guests must follow, though: all newspapers must be ironed; one butler per person; cocktail dress is required at dinner; gossip is restricted to downstairs; the listing is midweek because, as the Dowanger once said, “What is a weekend?”

If you don’t win the opportunity to stay at Highclere, all is not lost: you can tour the castle year-round.

The 25 Best Places to Live in America

Robin Zeigler/iStock via Getty Images
Robin Zeigler/iStock via Getty Images

It's impossible to please everyone with a list of great places to live. Some people prefer big cities, while others may be looking for a quieter place to escape to. The qualities people value in a location—like affordability, culture, and safety—also vary from person to person. But when it comes to diverse options, MONEY magazine's annual list of the 100 best places to live in the U.S. has something for everyone. Its list for 2019 includes towns, urban neighborhoods, and mid-sized cities in all regions of the country.

To compile this year's list of the best places to live, MONEY only looked at places that met certain criteria. The locations on the list all have populations of 50,000 or more. For cities where the population exceeds 300,000, the publication chose individual neighborhoods with 5000 to 200,000 residents to rank. Spots with more than double the national crime risk, less than 85 percent its state's median household income, and little ethnic diversity were automatically removed from consideration.

Of the 1796 places that met those standards, MONEY chose 100 that excelled in areas like housing, education, cost of living, diversity, income, safety, and amenities. In what seemed like a surprise to some, Clarksville, Tennessee, came out on top. The city, which is home to about 160,000 people, boasts a growing economy, a thriving small business scene, and an affordable housing market. It's also located less than an hour from Nashville. Clarksville was followed by Round Rock, Texas, in the second slot and Fishers, Indiana, coming in at number three.

It wasn't just towns and mid-sized cities that made the list. Neighborhoods in the biggest cities in America were also named some of the best places to live, including the Fulton River District in Chicago, Illinois (No. 4), and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, New York (No. 11).

You can check out the top 25 locations from MONEY's list below and see the full list of 100 here. If you'd like to broaden your living options even further, here are the safest cities to live around the world.

  1. Clarksville, Tennessee

  1. Round Rock, Texas

  1. Fishers, Indiana

  1. Fulton River District in Chicago, Illinois

  1. Country Club Heights in Charlotte, North Carolina

  1. Draper, Utah

  1. Bentonville, Arkansas

  1. Madison, Wisconsin

  1. Meridan, Idaho

  1. Winter Garden, Florida

  1. Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, New York

  1. Redmond, Washington

  1. Pearl in Portland, Oregon

  1. Dranesville, Virginia

  1. Rochester, Minnesota

  1. Johns Creek, Georgia

  1. Charleston, South Carolina

  1. Irvine, California

  1. Iowa City, Iowa

  1. Columbia, Maryland

  1. Spring Valley, Nevada

  1. Goodyear, Arizona

  1. LoDo in Denver, Colorado

  1. O'Fallon, Missouri

  1. Shawnee, Kansas

[h/t MONEY]

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