Gearing Up for Busiest Travel Weekend of the Year

By: Kate Eckman
By: Kate Eckman

Airport officials say they prepare for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in advance, so they can help everyone get where they need to go, on time and with their luggage.

Some people skip the airport and drive, or travel by bus or train. However you decide to travel, give yourself extra time and expect some delays.

Experts say this year, holiday travel is expected to be the busiest ever.

Officials from AAA say 38.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home, which is an increase of nearly three percent from last year, despite higher airfares, hotel rooms and rental cars.

Christian Koenig says, "It's worth it. It’s been about six months since I’ve been home, so I’m looking forward to going home and seeing my family and my dog."

There is more good news for those driving. Gas prices are down significantly from this past summer.

The national average is $2.23 a gallon, which is about nine cents cheaper than a year ago. That has convinced some people to hit the road, including Shaun Cusano. "Gas prices, safety, and the relative comfort of my vehicle," he said.

According to AAA, he'll be one of nearly 32-million people driving during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nearly five million people will travel by airplane.

Nine-year-old Cory Swiecicki describes his experience traveling from Illinois to Panama City to visit his grandparents for the holiday. "It was really busy and [there were] long lines for everything."

Despite all the long lines, Panama City airport officials say, "Everything is expected to run smoothly," Kip Turner said of the Panama City International Airport.

Almost two million people will travel by train, bus or another mode of transportation.

Local Greyhound officials say sales are up 15-20% from just last year.

Eve Starnes of Panama City Greyhound said, "They've been very heavy. Lots of last minute folks coming in last minute. They don't have any other transportation ideas so they're using us."

As for the airport, things have been running smoothly, but travelers may run into problems making their connections at larger airports.

If you get the "traveling blues" try to keep in mind why you are traveling in the first place, to be with family and friends on this Thanksgiving holiday.


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