Record 115.6M travelers expected to travel for holidays

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SAN DIEGO — Another record-breaking holiday travel season is on tap, according to experts with AAA.

The company anticipates as many as 115.6 million people will hit the road or soar the skies in order to reach family and friends ahead of Christmas, Hannukah and other winter festivities.

The increased travel period begins Saturday, Dec. 21 and runs through Jan. 1, AAA says. And it’s predicted to be busier than ever.

AAA expects the most people on the move since the company started tracking holiday travel in 2000, and nearly 4% more people are expected to travel than last year.

Drivers should anticipate only minor traffic delays on the weekdays before Christmas, especially with kids out of school, AAA and their partner INRIX predict. The worst days to drive will actually come right after Christmas, as people rush back to the “real world.”

For San Diegans who travel to, from and through Los Angeles, the worst anticipated drive-time is Dec. 26 from about 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Airports, meanwhile, will be busiest between Dec. 21 and 23. Travelers should also expect steep flight prices Dec. 26.

AAA credits a strong economy for the increase in travel, but it also says freeways and airport terminals have been getting steadily more crowded for years.

“Holiday cheer is at an all-time high this year, with unemployment at historically low levels, and noted improvements in both disposable income and household net worth,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel.

“Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”

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