Here’s what you should know ahead of one of Arizona’s busiest holiday travel seasons

Dec 18, 2023, 9:08 AM | Updated: 9:10 am

PHOENIX — As Arizonans prepare to leave their homes during what’s expected to be one of the busiest holiday travel seasons ever, AAA is offering tips to help make the trips seamless.

Over 2.2 million Arizonans are expected to travel from Saturday until New Year’s Day, the second most since AAA began tracking in 2000.

Nationally, AAA anticipates more than 115.2 million people traveling over the holidays, 103 million driving, 7.5 million by plane 4 million on other forms of transportation, such as train or bus.

“Travel had been going upward for several years up until the pandemic. It really just seems like we’re picking up where we left off in 2019, which was a record year for much of the country,” Julian Paredes with AAA Arizona told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “Travel is as big as it has ever been.”

Here are some AAA travel tips for the 2023 holiday season

With the busy season ahead, planning can make all the difference, Paredes said.

“We really recommend people avoid the 2 p.m.-8 p.m. hours, if you can,” Parades said. “And the busiest days for travel are going to be the Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 23, and Thursday, Dec. 28. Those days are going to be really, really packed, no matter where you’re at, so you got to start your trip as early as possible.”

For those traveling by plane, consider reserving an airport parking spot and avoid checking in luggage, if possible, AAA said.

Travelers should also prepare for up to 20% longer travel times nationwide, so traveling during off-peak hours might be a better option for some.

For those traveling by car, basic car maintenance can go a long way toward getting to your destination on time and for overall safety.

“Check your car battery, check your tire pressure. Those are really easy things that you can do yourself and can save you a big headache for the holiday,” Paredes said.

Last but not least, travelers should always be mindful of the weather and how it could impact their trip.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel contributed to this story.

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Here’s what you should know ahead of one of Arizona’s busiest holiday travel seasons