PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – AAA and the TSA want to make sure travelers are prepared this holiday season.

According to the TSA, they have screened a record number of passengers this year, and they anticipate airport security checkpoints will be busier than ever this holiday travel season.

The TSA has a list of 10 tips to best prepare for the busy travel season:

  • Pack smart; start with empty bags.
  • Bring an acceptable ID and have it out in the screening lane.
  • Arrive early.
  • If you plan to travel with a firearm, you must properly pack the firearm in a hard-sided, locked case in your checked bag and declare it with the airline at the ticket counter when checking in.
  • Be aware of new checkpoint screening technology.
  • Use TSA PreCheck to save time.
  • Call ahead to request passenger support.
  • Text or direct message TSA at AskTSA.
  • Remain aware.
  • Show gratitude to frontline workers.

The average price for a domestic flight is up 5% from 2022, while international flights are down 5.7% from last year, according to AAA data.

Roads are also expected to be busier than usual in Virginia during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. AAA predicts around 55.4 million travelers nationwide will head 50 miles or more, with 1.4 million Virginians expected to travel for Thanksgiving. AAA says this will make 2023 the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast with a 2.3% increase from last year.

“For many Americans, Thanksgiving and travel go hand in hand, and this holiday, we expect more people on the roads, skies and seas compared to 2022,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “Travel demand has been strong all year, and AAA’s Thanksgiving forecast reflects that continued desire to get away and spend time with loved ones.”

Most travelers this year are expected to drive to their destinations as gas prices continue to decrease. As of Nov. 13, the average gas price in Hampton Roads is $3.04, according to AAA.

AAA is expecting around 4.7 million people to travel by plane, which is an increase of 6.6% compared to 2022 and the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005.

Wednesday, Nov. 22 is expected to be the busiest day on the roads according to INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights. INRIX recommends leaving in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest holiday congestion.

“The day before Thanksgiving is notoriously one of the most congested days on our roadways. Travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help minimize holiday traffic frustrations. We advise drivers to use traffic apps, local DOT notifications and 511 services for real-time updates.”

Best & Worst Times to Travel (by car) according to AAA:

Date Worst travel time Best travel time 
Wednesday, Nov. 222:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Before 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, Nov. 2311:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Before 10:00 a.m., After 5:00 p.m. 
Friday, Nov. 2412:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Before 11:00 a.m., After 7:00 p.m. 
Saturday, Nov. 253:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Before 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 263:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Before 12:00 p.m.
2023 Thanksgiving travel times (Courtesy: AAA)

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