LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — Despite warnings from health officials, millions of Americans are still traveling this holiday.

But with bad weather on the way, some headed out early this Christmas Eve to make sure they get to their destinations safely.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was busy Thursday with travelers headed home to see family.

“We’re going to Arizona today,” traveler Tara Richards said.

“I’m just coming back from business and getting home,” another traveler, Jon Richards, said. ” I’m excited we’ll get to watch ‘The Polar Express’ for our tradition this evening.”

AAA says even with officials asking Marylanders to stay home for the holidays, nearly two million are expected to travel during the pandemic.

Tara Richards and her husband are one of the many people flying out.

“We’re both wearing masks,” Tara said. “I’m going to put glasses on, keep our eyes covered as best as we can. Hopefully, we’re still spread out in the seats.”

Although AAA predicts fewer travelers this year, they say 85 million people are still expected to travel from now until January 3. Nearly 96% of travelers are expected to hit the highways and drive to their destination.


“Obviously there’s always a risk, but at the end of the day you have to make it home,” said Reina Jurdi.

Despite bad weather expected in the region and a pandemic in full swing, some travelers say it’s worth the risk to be with family for the holidays.

READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Flash Flood Watch In Effect For Christmas Eve; Damaging Winds, Isolated Tornadoes Possible

“I live in another city,” Jurdi said. “I don’t spend a lot of time with them so I wouldn’t want to miss dinner with them for Christmas.”

Under Governor Larry Hogan’s emergency order, any Marylanders who travel outside the state or people who travel to Maryland will have to obtain either a negative COVID-19 19 test or quarantine for 10 days.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.e

Kelsey Kushner