Preparing for holiday travels

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(ABC 6 News) – Over 53 million Americans will be traveling for the holidays this year, with roughly 4.2 million of them flying. This is up nearly two million people from last year.

“And that’s amazing, but that is also the single highest jump on record since we started in the early 2000s,” said AAA Minnesota & Iowa Public Affairs Specialist Meredith Mitts.

People aren’t just visiting the skies this time of year either. The roads are expected to be filled with traffic due to the evening commute combined with those just looking to drive home to their families. In other words, roads could get a little hectic.

Meredith Mitts had thoughts on this matter too. “Part of that is people want to maximize the people spend with their family. No one wants to travel on Thanksgiving and risk being late. So if you have PTO, people are taking it and leaving Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Then if people are choosing to maximize while not taking PTO, they are leaving and going Wednesday evening.”

It’s not just the commute that is different from last year. Gas prices have risen exponentially since last Thanksgiving.

Both Minnesota and Iowa are at gas prices of $3.17 whereas both states were at $1.95 last Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, both states fall short of the national average, which is currently at $3.40.

This is due to both an increase in demand due to holiday travel as well as a limited supply of gasoline. Despite that, it should not deter from people traveling by either car or plane since most people could not see each other due to the pandemic.

Mitts advice is “Be proactive, be patient, be prepared.” If you are flying, it is advised to arrive at least 2-3 hours in advance to ensure getting through TSA checkpoints in a timely manner.

If you are driving, it is advised to make sure your car’s tires are fully inflated and your fluids are topped of (such as engine coolant and windshield washer solvent).

For a lot of us, it is a long road to get to see our families, and it will feel longer with increased traffic.