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AAA says when planning for holiday travel, don't wait


Thanksgiving is still three weeks away, but AAA says now is the time to get ready for any holiday travel. Public Affairs Manager Kara Hitchens says the pandemic should have taught us to be ready for anything.

"Book your flight now, if you can," she says. "Book any rental car that you may want to use. Be sure to book your hotel. We know that inventory and space are at a premium this year so you're going to want to get in there early and make those plans and arrangements."

Hitchens says there's still a shortage of rental cars due to a slowdown in manufacturing, caused by a lack of computer chips. Rental car companies dumped much of their inventory in 2020, because travel fell off dramatically. She says airlines could still have personnel shortages for weeks to come, leading to flight cancellations and overbooked flights.

AAA believes the number of people traveling for the holidays could return to pre-pandemic levels this season. "A lot of folks are getting vaccinated and reducing the risk of spreading COVID," Hitchens says. "We believe that people are anxious to get back out and travel; get together with family and friends and reunite."

Hitchens says if you are planning on traveling, now is a good time to make sure you can get a flight, a rental car or a hotel room.

"If you keep watching a flight, or watching a booking, it might come down in price. But I think for a lot of people, you have to weigh the good and the bad - weigh for yourself whether you want to run the risk of losing out, missing out or you've paid a little bit more," she says.

Even if you're taking your own vehicle somewhere for the holidays, Hitchens says planning ahead is a good idea. She says make sure your car is in good condition now before hitting the road, and before service stations fill up with other people checking their rides.

"Right now gas prices are probably at their highest they've been in several years, so that could potentially effect people and their decisions to drive as well," she says. "Again, you have to decide what you're willing to spend your money on, where you're willing to invest your dollars."

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.