AAA: Holiday travel nears pre-pandemic numbers –

AAA: Holiday travel nears pre-pandemic numbers –

This year, about 109 million people will be traveling for either Christmas or the New Year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — ‘Tis the season for travel. Many Americans cancelled their trips last year because of the pandemic, but now millions will be back on the road and in the skies.

According to AAA, 109 million people will be traveling this year between Christmas and New Year’s Day. That’s about 27.7 million more people compared to last year and 92% of pre-pandemic levels.

“With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different, and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel,” says Paula Twidale, senior VP of AAA Travel.

An overwhelming majority of people, 100 million, will be driving to their destination. That’s despite gas costing $1.25 more per gallon compared to this time last year. For those driving, the busiest time on the road will be the afternoons of December 23, 24 and 26. The best time to drive is Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

More than 6 million will be flying, a 184% increase compared to last year. Flying this year is also more expensive. According to AAA, Christmas week flights are up 5% with the average round-trip fare costing about $154. For those flying around New Year’s, flights are up about 27% compared to later year. They are at an average fare of $182. AAA says the best time to book flights are two weeks before traveling, but keep in mind, if you wait that long, availability may be limited.

The CDC is reminding travelers that masks are required on all public transportation, that includes airports, train stations and planes. If you’re traveling internationally, you must have a negative test to return to the U.S. regardless of vaccination status.