By Stetson Miller

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Whether you’re hitting the road or hopping on a plane, AAA is predicting a busy holiday travel season.

An estimated 109 million Americans are expected to travel over the holidays, up 34% compared to the same time last year. That’s an increase AAA attributes to people’s need to get away after spending the past year cooped up indoors.

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“If there is one thing we have seen at AAA throughout the year, it is pent-up demand for travel,” AAA spokesperson Ragina Ali said. “Whether people are hitting the road for an overdue visit with friends and family, or planning a more significant getaway, there is  little discouraging them.”

No matter if you’re boarding a flight or taking the car, AAA expects airports and roads nationwide to be busy from Dec. 23 through New Year’s.

Some drivers traveling along Interstate 95 said they’ve already started to see things pick up.

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“Very busy,” Joe Cunha of New Jersey told WJZ. “Not real, real heavy traffic, but a lot of traffic.”

“It’s always bad this time of year, you just have to expect it,” added Alabama resident Victor Lockwood.

AAA doesn’t anticipate the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant will deter travelers much. The same goes for elevated gas prices, which are about $1 higher than last year.

“Historically, increased gas prices have not deterred motorists who have made holiday travel plans,” Ali said. “Instead, they adjust their budgets, spending less on accommodations, eating out or other expenses.”

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To make your trip less stressful, AAA has a few travel tips:

  • If you’re flying, book an early flight. Delays tend to get worse as the day goes on.
  • Consider delays when making your plans. Get to the airport a couple hours early.
  • If you’re hitting the road, make sure your car’s in good shape. Get a checkup.
  • Get acquainted with CDC guidelines and travel restrictions, so you’re not surprised.

Stetson Miller