BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Millions of Marylanders are headed out for the holidays. Their final stop: A destination that’s an hour or more from home.

Gigi Barnett has more.

Over the last few years, people stayed close to home for the holidays– blame the sluggish economy and high gas prices. But experts say, folks want to get away this holiday, and the cheapest and quickest way to do that is by car.

On the road… again.

This year, more Marylanders are driving to their holiday destinations this weekend. And, some drivers are looking to avoid it.

“Traveling for the holidays, you’re just asking for stress,” Najah Bayyan said. “So, we’re not doing it.”

But nearly two million Marylanders are, according to AAA. That’s a slight boost from last year. The preferred mode of transportation is the car.

But AAA says about 800,000 drivers will need a tow truck and a mechanic for repairs at some point during the trip.

“Some of them are avoidable, a lot of them are not going to be avoidable,” Ed Kriston of AAA said.

That’s an errand Mark Keller has already scratched off his list. He’s taking a road trip to Pennsylvania and joining the one of the largest groups of holiday travelers experts have seen in a decade, even though gas prices are up.

“It just seems like people are willing to make the sacrifice this year to get away and be with loved ones,” said Christine Delise, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Keller says it was his wife’s idea to get out of town.

“She said she just wanted to take a little ride to get away, watch the leaves and just enjoy the ride, get away from home,” Keller said.

One way to keep your holiday fun is to make sure you check your car before you leave, especially your battery. Mechanics say that is the No. 1 roadside repair they expect to make this holiday weekend.

The heaviest part of the travel season starts Friday and ends January 2.


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