Saturday December 3rd, 2022 6:15PM

AAA on Thanksgiving travel: prepare your wallet and your vehicle

By Natalie Sadler Anchor/Reporter
  Contact Editor
Travelers this Thanksgiving holiday are likely expecting higher prices in terms of transportation. 
With all of the hassle and added cost of flying, American Automobile Association spokeswoman Montrae Waiters said many Georgians are opting to drive to their Thanksgiving destination instead. 
AAA estimates that over 1.5 million Georgians will hit the roads, and out of them, over 411,000 drivers will need roadside assistance.
“Unfortunately, we're gonna have a lot of folks that are going to be stranded on the side of the road,” Waiters said. “So we are stressing that [drivers] slow down and move over – of course when they see emergency flashing lights – whether it’s a law enforcement officer that will be assisting a brokedown driver or it’s a tow provider.”
Moving over also applies to other vehicles that have their emergency lights on. AAA is promoting its Move Over campaign, which references Georgia’s Move Over Law. If a driver is unable to move over a lane, they should still slow down and be prepared to stop.
To avoid the worst of travel traffic, Waiters advises drivers to leave on Wednesday either before 11 a.m. or after 8 p.m. AAA expects the worst of traffic to take place between that midmorning to early evening time frame.
“After 8 p.m., you’ve kind of missed that spike,” Waiters said. “And for the folks who have had all of their turkey and are going to be heading back home from Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, most people either travel on that Saturday or Sunday – so the 26th or 27th. The worst time to travel is going to be between the hours of 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. And the best time to travel is going to be around 2 p.m. and definitely after 8 p.m.”
Drivers should also ensure their vehicle is ready for a road trip. Waiters stressed drivers making to take their vehicle to a certified vehicle technician, who will check tires, the vehicle’s battery, windshield wiper and fluids, before setting off.
Despite higher ticket prices, flying also remains a travel option. Travelers who have bought their tickets will likely have noticed that plane seats are more expensive than in previous years.
According to AAA spokeswoman Montrae Waiters, plane tickets cost 22 percent more this year compared to 2021. 
“So we're looking at an average of $166 versus $135 back in 2020,” Waiters said.
She advised those who are flying to arrive at the airport even earlier than they usually would. AAA normally suggests passengers arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight, but Waiters said travelers should add another hour or two to that timeframe.
“Just getting to the airport here in Atlanta, you’ve got to deal with a lot of construction that's going on, and you may already have heavy traffic around the metro area,” Waiters said. “So it's very, very important if you can do the extra hour on top of what we're suggesting when it comes to traffic.”
Flyers should always use their air carrier’s mobile app to stay up-to-date on their flight status. Although weather flying out of Georgia is normally mild, those who may be flying to colder places may be impacted by snowstorms.
“Make sure you pack the medications and an extra set of clothes, just in case your flight is delayed or canceled,” Waiters said. “And we can't stress enough that we hope most folks have purchased travel insurance. It is very, very important because it can help offset things like your flight being delayed or canceled depending on the type of travel insurance you have purchased.”
  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: North Georgia, AAA, Travel, holiday travel, Thanksgiving
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