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Millions Of People Prepare To Head Home For Thanksgiving

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Believe it or not, some folks are already getting a jump on their holiday travel and they’ll be in good company. About one million people more than last year are expected to be traveling this Thanksgiving.

Derek Valcourt has more on what you can expect when you hit the highways or fly the skies.

Whether it’s by plane, train or automobile, experts say the longer you wait to leave, the longer it’s likely going to take you to get there.

“Definitely the food,” said one.

“Seeing family, because I haven’t seen them in a while,” said another.

“Pie. Every kind of pie–pumpkin, sweet potato, mixed berry and everything,” said another.

AAA says 90 percent of those travelers—some 38.2 million people—will drive to Grandma’s house.

“We can expect that the roads will certainly be crowded,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Busy because AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts 871,000 Marylanders will travel for their turkey—3.5 percent  more than last year. Also more than last year: gas prices. They’re 45 cents a gallon higher than a year ago.

In Maryland, tolls are up too, enough to have some people opting for a bus ticket.

“It’s cheap and I get to relax and I don’t have to worry about all the traffic; I can just sleep,” said Quinn Dunkak.

Many of Maryland’s holiday travelers will skip the highways altogether. Instead, they’ll catch a plane out of BWI or a train leaving from Baltimore’s Penn Station.

“I’m gonna fly,” said Caitlyn Craig.

Craig is one of the 3.4 million Americans hopping on a plane to visit family this week, despite the fact that airline tickets on average cost a whopping 20 percent more than last year. Her ticket was $300.

“Crazy amount of money to spend but definitely worth it,” Craig said.

“It appears that Thanksgiving is that holiday more so than others where people are willing to make whatever financial sacrifice they need to to spend time with family and friends,” Averella said.

This Wednesday and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are the two busiest travel days. Avoid them if you can. AAA advises anyone driving I-95 who wants to avoid traffic to leave before 6 a.m. or after 11 p.m.

AAA says this will be the first holiday all year with increased holiday travel. The Fourth of July and Labor Day actually saw fewer travelers than the year before.

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