Holiday travel back to pre-pandemic levels in Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — With the holidays right around the corner, many people will be hitting the road this week. AAA expects a 28% increase in car travelers this year, which adds up to nearly 100 million people.

Some people had to cancel their holiday plans last year due to COVID concerns. But many families are back to their usual traditions.

“Taking my mind off the pandemic, hopefully spending time with family and just enjoying being at home,” said Isis Ellis, a Birmingham Resident.

Isis tells us she and her mother Shirly feel comfortable spending time with family in person this year.

“We’re all vaccinated, so still being careful, have been careful all year so it will be nice to get together,” said Isis.

“Staying in Alabama, we’re all boosted up and just following the safety guidelines and I think we’ll have a great Christmas,” said Shirley Ellis, Isis’s Mother.

The Ellis family will be part of the 109 million people traveling this week. AAA says this is a 34% increase from 2020.

“It’s going to be a busy Christmas holiday season, it’s going to feel like it used to feel like before the pandemic came in,” said Clay Ingram with AAA of Alabama.

Ingram says those flying this week should pack their patience. As airlines will see a 184% increase in travelers.

“The lines at the airport are going to be much longer than what we are used to, comparing to the past year and a half. So, if you would get there two hours in advance, you probably want to make that three hours in advance because the airports are going to be crowded,” said Ingram.

But for those hitting the roadways, the busiest travel days are expected to be Thursday and Friday.

“We always recommend getting your car checked out by a certified technician to prevent a potential breakdown along the way,” said Ingram.

More good news for those hitting the roadways, the Alabama Department of Transportation says they will be limiting roadwork and lane closures for the safety of drivers and workers through Christmas and New Year.

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