AAA expects busy holiday travel season as pandemic recovery continues

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Thanksgiving is a day away and officials are predicting the most travelers since the beginning of the pandemic.

Eyewitness News learns what that means for travelers at the airports and on the roads.

Many people are ready to hop on a flight out of Avoca and they are just some of the millions of travelers heading out Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with family.

AAA is predicting over 53 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year.

That is up 13% from 2020.

“There’s only a couple of flights going out of here. I try to take the morning flights, I tend to miss most of the traffic,” explained Matt Lunday, traveler.

Matt Lunday lives in Oklahoma but spends the majority of his time here in Northeastern Pennsylvania for work. He headed to the airport around 5:00 a.m. to catch his early flight.

“I can tell you I have to connect to Chicago and it’s busy,” said Lunday.

Air travel in particular has almost completely recovered from its drastic fall during the pandemic.

AAA is also advising travelers to expect airports to be very crowded, almost like before the pandemic.

“Things will be very, very different, different in a good way,” said Jana Tidwell, AAA Public Affairs. “People are out and about and traveling and back together with family and friends. But, that will mean congestion on the roadways and in local airports.”

This year’s forecast shows despite rising gas prices, 90 percent of drivers are planning to travel by car.

“Wednesday will be a very, very busy travel day. Sunday will also be a busy travel day as travelers return home from the holiday weekend. So, if you can plan your car travel during off-peak hours, traveling early in the morning or later in the evening, will not only help save time but also cut back on the fuel that you burn in that trip,” Tidwell explained.

Cutting back on fuel will be important this holiday season also, as AAA’s most recent data shows the national average for gas prices is sitting at just under $3.40.

AAA says as COVID-19 remains prominent in our communities, it is important to know the mask mandates and rules before you arrive at your destination, or any stops along the way.

For more tips and recommendations for holiday travel, head here.

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