Holiday travel: what you need to know

(ABC 6 News) – This year’s Thanksgiving travel is projected to be the third busiest since 2000, according to AAA. So, there’s a lot to keep in mind.

“If anything that pandemic has taught us it’s how important family is,” said Stephanie Alexander, who flew into Rochester International Airport to spend the holiday weekend with family.

Like Alexander, 54.6 million Americans are hitting the road or taking to the skies and making a trip longer than 50 miles to see their families this year, according to AAA.

People are more than ready to make the trip.

“We haven’t done any traveling at all in the last two years, so it’s time to hit the road again,” said David Cater, who is traveling from Kasson to meet up with extended family in Chicago. Cater says, a lot of the family are flying in from across the country.

The distance is not stopping these families from spending time together this weekend.

Brenda LaBar flew into RST from Texas, along with her son Omar Lyles who came from New York.

Another passenger from the arriving flights at RST Wednesday afternoon says she flew in to meet the newest member of the family.

“I’m seeing my great niece for the first time, she was just born in September,” explained Shelly Sova. “That’s one of the reasons why I came home.”

People say while the family is certainly one of the main reasons for the trip, there is another.

“The food no doubt. No, our family cooks, we cook down,” laughed Lyles.

Almost all flights at RST Wednesday were at maximum capacity.

If you are catching a flight to Minneapolis, it will be extremely busy the next few days. With an 8% increase in air travel this year, officials say to try to arrive at least two hours before your flight.

If you are making the drive to see family, it is still important to allow for that extra time.

“Definitely gonna have an increase in traffic levels starting today all the way through the weekend,” explained Sgt. Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol. “It’s important people plan ahead and plan for extra traffic.”

Regardless of how you travel, many say that holiday getaway is long overdue.

“It’s a great change of pace to actually be able to see people you love, and eat great food, and experience all of the things that the holidays offers,” added Lyles.