Photography by Getty Images
AAA predicts that 93.3 million Americans will hit the road during the holidays, making this Christmas travel season the busiest it’s been in 6 years. More people are taking road trips this year because finding a reasonably-priced airplane ticket is like finding a needle in a haystack.
A record 84.4 million people will drive at least 50 miles between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1, according to the reputable travel agency. That’s 90.5% of holiday travelers, up from 89.3% just 6 years ago. So what does that mean to you? Expect plenty of traffic jams, crowded rest stops and bumper-to-bumper lines near highway tolls.
Need tips for dealing with this inevitable headache? Pack a couple travel-size games and snacks to keep the kids preoccupied. We recommend checking out some helpful family travel tips from Mommy Points blogger, Summer Hull, before you head out the door. Our travel expert offers up advice on everything from flying with a baby for the first time to finding hotels with health food options.
One thing travelers aren’t too concerned about is gas prices, which have dropped 50 cents since September, according to AAA. The average price at the pump will range from $3.20 and $3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day, but that’s still not enough of a reason to thwart travelers’ plans to drive.
Although more people will be on the road, the airports will be just as busy. We recommend heading to the airport earlier than you normally would to avoid long TSA security lines — especially on the weekend before Christmas, the day after Christmas and on Jan. 2. AAA’s economist John Heimlich expects 86% of the airplane seats to be filled with paying passengers, up from 85% last year.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled or delayed due to a major storm system making its way across the Midwest and headed for the East Coast of the US. Meteorologists predict that another storm on the West Coast may throw a wrench in travel plans next week; so before you head out the door, check out our weather forecast tool — powered by WeatherTrends360 — to find out if these 2 storms will affect your Christmas travel plans.
And if you’re headed to a big city, download The Layover app or peruse our airport guides to find out how you can kill some time during a lengthy layover.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that the Eastern Seaboard of the US is still reeling from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. Powerful wind gusts, up to 80 mph, have left more than 7 million people without power. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of evacuees have been rushed to emergency shelters; to help with disaster relief, consider a donation to the American Red Cross.
And unfortunately travelers haven’t been able to escape Sandy’s stormy grip. Airports in NYC and Philadelphia remain closed, and more than 13,000 flights were cancelled at airports in some states near the Great Lakes, where heavy snow is expected. And according to The New York Times, flooding in some areas has forced subways from Boston to Washington, DC, to shut down.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we’ve put together a few helpful tips just in case you’re stranded or you need to reschedule your travel plans. Cut through the clutter and get your travels back on track with our hurricane safety tips — what travelers should do before, during and after stormy weather strikes.
Looking for more travel tips and warm weather getaways?
Tonight at 9|8c, catch the season finale of Airport 24/7! In tonight’s episode, see what happens when a fuel farm catches on fire, causing a catastrophic blaze that could halt Miami International Airport in its tracks. With the loss of so much fuel, can MIA bounce back?
Can’t get enough of the action at MIA? Catch all of our extra content that’s not in the episodes online! From Casey, the adorable therapy dog, posing for her ID badge to the flash mobs that keep the travelers passing through MIA entertained, there’s always something happening at MIA.
Also, don’t miss these fun facts about MIA! For example, did you know that there’s a protected species living on the airfield?
The airport fun doesn’t have to end tonight! See all of Travel Channel’s airport features, from Mile-High Fashion to the World’s Most Iconic Airports!
Has the election coverage left you discouraged? Have you been telling everyone that if your favorite candidate doesn’t win, you’re leaving the country? Searching for airports already? We’ve heard it all before, but now JetBlue Airlines is making it easier than ever to put your foot where your mouth is.
- Photo Courtesy of JetBlue Airways
So if tonight’s debate has you running for the hills, turn to JetBlue’s “Election Protection” to offer a little post-debate relief. Election Protection is a contest that asks for your party preference and your escape of choice. In the event that your chosen presidential candidate loses in November, then you get the chance to win a flight to your chosen destination.
Chilling with spider monkeys in Costa Rica? Exploring the 40 different beaches and cays of Turks and Caicos? Living the high life in the Bahamas in the world’s hottest hotels? Any one of these tropical getaways sounds pretty good right now, regardless of who wins or loses. We’ve already submitted our ballot.
When an airport is the size of a small city, there’s bound to be endless drama. Go inside Miami International Airport with our new series, Airport 24/7: Miami, premiering tonight with 2 back-to-back episodes starting at 9|8c.
Did you know Miami International Airport uses enough soap in a year to fill a residential swimming pool? Check out more fun facts about MIA here!
Read our Q&A with MIA’s Director of Security, Lauren Stover, who is the first woman in the history of Miami International Airport to direct the airport’s day-to-day security.
Get a peek at the crazy things the TSA has intercepted from travelers in one of our many behind-the-scenes videos.
Find photos, videos and more at TravelChannel.com!
As part of the travel blog community, we like to keep a weather eye on the horizon and bring things to our readers that happened to catch our attention this week on the blogroll. We found some tips on traveling to London for the Olympics, as well as gorgeous photos of Ecuador and the cenotes of Mexico.
Peter Greenberg offers suggestions for how to avoid hotels when traveling abroad for the Olympics.
We spend time trolling the travel blogosphere so you don’t have to! Well, not trolling … more like, blissfully absorbing. Anyway, turns out the Olympics is on everyone’s minds — as it will be for the next couple of months — and we found tips on eking as much enjoyment as possible out of the remaining summer days. Check out what we found on Travel Channel’s blogroll.
Looking to get to London on the cheap? Mommy Points debates taking a discounted trip to the Olympics.
What happened this week in the travel blogosphere? Well, retro is in, cleavage is out. Here’s what else grabbed our attention on Travel Channel’s blogroll.
Opening today, the new Disney film Brave is sure to be a hit – set in Scotland, it’s already inspiring trips to the country, including those with a special itinerary designed by Disney. Gadling explains… READ MORE
- Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
Join us on the Traveling Type each week for a roundup of our favorite blog posts. From a peek into life in Beirut to inspiration found on the banks of the Thames, here’s what caught our eye this week in the travel blog universe:
Have you heard that the TSA is letting certain travelers keep their shoes on? Mommy Points explains!
In 2010, the Florida-based Spirit Airlines took the historic step of being the first US airline to charge passengers baggage fees for carry-ons. That’s right — not checked bags, carry-ons. Today, the airline is in the news again, this time for raising their already-unprecedented carry-on fees even more.
Travelers be warned: starting Nov. 6, any Spirit Airlines passengers who wait until they get to the gate to pay for their carry-on (defined as a bag that needs to be put in the overhead bin and cannot fit under the seat) will get hit with a whopping $100 fee. READ MORE