If you think it’s too early to start talking about how busy roads and airports are predicted to be for Thanksgiving this year, keep in mind that many stores started rolling out their Christmas merchandise Oct. 30 — before Halloween.
So here we are, just a week out from Thanksgiving to spread the word that more than 53 million people are expected to travel for the holiday, according to AAA, and also reminding everyone to continue to practice CVOID-19 safety.
“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Ragina C. Ali, public and government affairs manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic, in a news release. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”
That’s great news about seeing family, but does everyone’s aunt live in Orlando, Fla. or Honolulu, Hawaii — two of the top domestic travel locations booked for this Thanksgiving? Also, how many are going to see actual relatives in such popular international Thanksgiving locales as Aruba and Dublin?
Whether people are traveling over the holiday to see family and friends or just to enjoy a well deserved vacation matters not here. What matters is having a travel plan in place because trust us, and AAA, a whole lot of people are hitting the road too.
For those driving, AAA recommends getting on the road during off-peak hours and allowing for extra time in case of traffic delays. For flyers, AAA suggests getting to the airport as much as three hours early for international flights and two hours early for domestic, as security checkpoint and other lines will be longer.
“Whether you plan to do so by car or plane, it’s important to know how to navigate the new travel landscape to avoid unnecessary stress and challenges on the way to your Thanksgiving destination,” AAA said in the release.
It is good news to hear that air travel is recovering from its precipitous pandemic fall. AAA reports air travel is expected to be up 80% over last year, with volumes within 5% of those in 2019 before COVID-19 hit.
And when it comes to COVID-19 safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday recommendations online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/celebrations.html.
It starts with getting vaccinated.
“Holiday traditions are important for families and children,” the CDC states. “Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.”
The CDC recommends holding off on travel for those who are not fully vaccinated.
For those traveling with unvaccinated children, the CDC recommends wearing masks over the nose and mouth, avoiding crowds, practicing social distancing, washing hands and using hand sanitizer.
“Children between the ages of 2 and 12 should wear a mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with,” the CDC states.
The CDC recommends that even those fully vaccinated continue to wear masks in public indoor spaces in communities with high COVID-19 transmission rates. The CDC also suggests avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
Also, keep an eye on your own health.
“If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering,” the CDC states. “Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.”
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While he never had to cross the Bay Bridge or rush to get in line for a TSA scan at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Franklin’s words ring true as we approach a very busy holiday travel week.