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As holiday travel returns to nearly pre-pandemic levels, AAA says pack your patience

CVG estimates Thanksgiving travel will come within 5-10% of 2019 levels.

Nationwide, 53.4 million travelers will head out this Thanksgiving holiday either by car or by plane. That's the fourth highest number since AAA has been keeping track.

After nearly two years of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Americans are rushing to see their loved ones this Thanksgiving at a record pace. AAA predicts the fourth highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since it began keeping track.

Nationwide, 53.4 million will take to the roads and skies. That’s up 13% from last year. In Ohio, 2.2 million are traveling.

But high gas prices will keep lots of people home, according to The Points Guy.

At the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, travel will be nearing 2019 levels. The busiest days are expected to be Wednesday and Sunday, with the busiest times for departures between 5-7 a.m.

“As people plan to reunite with loved ones, we are expecting to serve 90-95% of the volume we saw in 2019 during the Thanksgiving travel week,” said Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, CVG. “We continue to work with all of our partners from the airlines to TSA and the concessions to offer a seamless travel experience, and we encourage travelers to get vaccinated and adhere to good public health practices while traveling.”

CVG says the most popular destinations are Florida, Arizona and Cancun, Mexico.

AAA’s Director of Leisure Travel Miki Dudas recommends arriving two hours before a domestic flight and three hours ahead of an international flight. She also suggests downloading your airline’s app to be notified of any flight changes and reconfirming your rental car reservation.

And just when you thought you could sit back and relax, Dudas suggests booking your Christmas travel now. “Particularly for most popular destinations, a lot of people are combining both getting together with family with family friendly destinations like down to Orlando to some of our sun and sand destinations.”

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.