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Prepare for busy holiday traveling ahead of Thanksgiving

More people traveling by car and plane for the season
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 7:01 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Advisors are warning travelers Thanksgiving break is one of the busiest weeks of the year.

“There’s going to be a lot of people traveling this week for the holiday season. So, be prepared for extra crowds, extra traffic on the road, longer lines if you’re headed to the airport,” said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Affairs for AAA.

Jarmusz urges travelers to pack some extra patience.

“Not quite back up to pre-pandemic levels, we’re still expecting traffic to be 5% off of where it was for 2019 for Thanksgiving, but significantly higher than it was last year and certainly higher volumes of traffic on the road and longer lines at the airport than what people have probably seen in quite some time,” said Jarmusz.

Paying attention while driving home for the holidays is important.

“When you’re on the roads, the biggest thing is speed. Slowing down staying focused, don’t allow yourself to be distracted is going to be important,” said Jarmusz.

A little less than 1-million Wisconsinites are expected to travel the week of Thanksgiving.

“We’re expecting here in Wisconsin to be about 950,000 automobile travelers on the roads at some point between Wednesday and Sunday,” said Jarmusz.

Jarmusz said a lot of growth in traveling is driven by air travel.

“Automobile travel is only up about 8% from last year, but air travel is up about 80% from this time last year,” said Jarmusz.

If you are traveling by air, airport officials say plan to get there early.

“We’re expecting the heaviest increase in passengers actually following the holiday. So Sunday, Monday after Thanksgiving will be our highest compression time,” said Brian Grefe, airport director for Central Wisconsin Airport.

Grefe said giving yourself extra time is a must.

“Give yourself at least 60 to 90 minutes to accommodate the congestion,” said Grefe.

Knowing what you can and can’t bring through TSA will also speed up holiday travels. If you are unsure what is allowed in the airport, here is a link to the TSA website that describes what is allowed and what is not.

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