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AAA projecting holiday travel to peak just short of pre-pandemic numbers

Chris Graham
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Americans will be hitting the roads like it was 2019 this holiday season, with AAA projecting that 112.7 million people will journey 50 or more miles from home over the Christmas holiday.

That would represent an increase of 3.6 million people over the 2021 holiday season, and would make 2022 the third busiest holiday travel season on record.

The increased flexibility with work schedules is a factor, according to Morgan Dean, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“With hybrid work schedules, we are seeing more people take long weekends to travel because they can work remotely at their destination and be more flexible with the days they depart and return,” Dean said.

It will also help that gas prices are coming back in line. After approaching $5 a gallon mid-year, the national average is trending down toward the $3 a gallon mark with Christmas approaching.

Air travel is projected to increase 14 percent over last year’s holidays, according to AAA, which warns those planning to travel by air to be prepared.

“The TSA reports screening more than 2.5 million people at U.S. airports on the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” Dean said. “That’s the highest number of travelers that screeners have seen since the start of the pandemic and a sure sign that air travel is getting back closer to normal.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].