Home AAA: Virginians are hitting the road, skies, water this holiday travel season

AAA: Virginians are hitting the road, skies, water this holiday travel season

Crystal Graham
holiday travel
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Virginians are hitting the road this holiday season with AAA estimating nearly 3.2 million residents will travel 50 miles or more away from home during the end-of-year travel period.

While that is a 2 percent increase over the 2022 travel volume, it is still 3 percent shy of the same holiday period in 2019.

It is still the second highest year-end travel forecast for Virginia travelers since AAA began tracking in 2000.

“AAA has seen a strong demand for travel throughout the year, and the end-of-year holiday is no exception,” said Morgan Dean, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic in Virginia. “Whether people are hitting the road to share the holiday with friends and family, or planning a more elaborate vacation, there is little discouraging them from getting away.”

Highlights of end-of-year-travel predictions

  • The most congested days on the roads are expected to be Dec. 23-28. Drivers looking to avoid traffic should leave in the morning on those days as traffic is expected to build up during the afternoon.
  • More than 178,000 Virginians are expected to fly to their holiday destinations. That’s up more than 4 percent from last year, up 2 percent over 2019 and the highest number of Virginia air travelers at the year-end in 19 years.
  • Nearly 155,000 Virginians are predicted to travel by bus, train, or cruise for the holidays, up 15 percent over last year and up 13 percent over the 2019 numbers. It would be the second busiest year-end holiday Virginia has seen in the other category behind only the 2008 travel numbers.

“Many are opting to celebrate the holidays on the high seas, trading the snow, fraser fir, and Christmas lights for sand, palm trees and tropical sunsets,” said Dean.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.