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Busy roads and airports expected for Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving travel is expected to surge within 5% of pre-pandemic numbers
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Thanksgiving travel is expected to surge within 5% of pre-pandemic numbers

More than 53 million people are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. That puts the forecast within 5% of 2019 numbers, a big surge from last year’s pandemic numbers.

"People want to be with their families,” said AAA Director of Public Relations Elizabeth Carey. “A lot of people missed out on holidays last year, missed out on family gatherings throughout the year, so people want to travel. They want to be with their loved ones."

Carey said 90% of travelers will hit the roads, and she’s advising people to make sure their cars are in good shape before heading out. AAA expects to respond to more than 400,000 calls for help during Thanksgiving week. For drivers who want to avoid the heaviest traffic, Carey advises avoiding the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after.

Brian Murray, Director of Travel for AAA Western and Central New York, said at the airports, flights are full and schedules are tight. Make sure to plan ahead.

"Packing your patience is really key,” said Murray. “Getting to the airport, it's really important to get there early. With the TSA lines and so forth, there's going to be some delays. People that don't normally travel are traveling."

AAA recommends arriving two hours early to the airport for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights. Murray also points out if you’re traveling to a big city, lines may be much longer than we see in central New York, so keep that in mind when you’re heading back home.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.