Tips for traveling during a record-breaking holiday season

AAA expects a record-breaking traveling season from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2. (Pixabay)
AAA expects a record-breaking traveling season from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2. (Pixabay)

With the new year approaching, AAA expects 103 million Americans to travel in the forthcoming weeks.

They anticipate a record-breaking number of travelers getting from point A to point B between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, which is a 1.5 percent increase from last year, according to its 2016-year-end travel forecast.

Whether it’s on a plane, a bus, a train or an automobile, here’s a list of tips to survive holiday travel.

Planes

AAA expects 6 million Americans to ride planes for year-end holidays this year, and Norfolk International Airport’s Steve Sterling said he expects over 50,000 people to fly out of Norfolk.

To make the flying experience stress free, NIA encourages passengers to arrive two hours prior to domestic flights, to not bring a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, to not bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquid in containers in carry-on luggage and make sure all luggage is empty before packing.

To see the the Transportation Security Administration’s current list of prohibited items, click here.

Roads

AAA estimates that 3 million Virginians will travel during the year-end holiday season, most of them using automobiles.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will suspend most highway construction and lift lane closures between Dec. 23 and 27, and again from Dec. 30 through Jan. 3, according to a VDOT news release.

HOV lanes on I-64, I-66, I-264, I-395 and I-564 will be open to all drivers on Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 2.

Seventy percent of snow-related deaths occur in automobiles, according to VDOT. It encourages drivers who could encounter snow to avoid travel, check brakes and tires, battery and ignition system, antifreeze and thermostat, be aware of icy spots in shady areas or bridges, and monitor local weather reports.

VDOT also recommends drivers to carry a winter weather kit, with items like a flashlight, batteries, an ice scraper, a cell phone and charger, jumper cables, blankets or quilts, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishables, sand or cat litter and a shovel.

National Weather Service meteorologist Lyle Alexander said snow won’t hit the Southside this holiday.

For more information and tips on driving through the snow, click here.

Waze, the smartphone navigation app, recently partnered with VDOT to give users accurate, real-time navigation insight. This is thanks to a two-way data share between state data and user-submitted data.

Bus

Greyhound expects more than 850,000 customers during the year-end holiday season, according to a press release.

“The holiday season is not only our favorite time of year but also one of our busiest,” said Bill Blankenship, chief operating officer, Greyhound Lines, Inc. said in a press release. “We had over 550,000 customers travel with us over the Thanksgiving holiday and now we expect that number to nearly double for the upcoming holiday travel.”

Greyhound recommends arriving an hour early for luggage check, to bring snacks and to print tickets beforehand to avoid lines. Prohibited items on buses include weapons, sharp objects that could be used as weapons, alcohol, firearms and illegal substances.

Train

Norfolk Station is where the closes Northeast Regional train arrives and departs in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

People in Virginia Beach can take the Amtrak bus service at 1912 Arctic Avenue to the Norfolk train station. To see its schedule, click here.

Amtrak recommends tending to your luggage and carrying an ID card at all times.

Train travelers can bring four pieces of luggage, two to check in and two to carry on, as long as they are collectively under 150 pounds. Pets that weigh under 20 pounds can travel with their owners for $25 and passengers can bring bikes with them, depending on their route.

Contact Justin at justin@southsidedaily.com

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