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Delaware Headlines

Expect delays during holiday travel, says AAA

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Delaware Public Media
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Pent up urge to travel means the roads and airports are gonna be busier these holidays.

Many folks were kept from traveling far to visit family over the holidays last year because of rising cases of COVID and no available vaccines.

Now, many people are ready to go, despite rising prices for travel essentials and an increasing risk from the Omicron variant.

According to a AAA national survey, flights this holiday season are up around 184 percent over last year.

AAA Mid Atlantic spokesperson Jim Lardear says this demand has in part driven up the cost of traveling.

“Given what you’re seeing in terms of the volume kind of returning to 92% of what we normally expected without COVID, I think there’s demand — and people are gonna go,” says Lardear. “They may economize otherwise but they’re still gonna need a rental car potentially, hotel rooms.”

Lardear says their survey shows the cost of a hotel room over double what it was last year, and car rental costs are up almost 65 percent through New Years week.

He notes while many people are flying, car travel still remains a safe and easy option for those heading shorter distances.

Lardear says people need to be preparing for delays no matter what form of travel they take.

“I think the most important thing is to get to the airports early, make sure that you know your route and understand alternate routes for your travel,’ he says. “Because we don’t want the holiday to be marred by delays and the angst that that brings.”

And rising concerns over the Omicron variant aren’t much of a factor either. Public Health Officials urge travelers to get their booster shot to ensure they’re as protected as possible when visiting other parts of the country.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.