Holiday travel expected to increase this year

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

AAA says economic concerns prevented people from traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday over the past three years. This year however, people are throwing that mind set out the window and visiting their relatives. So highways like 99 in Fresno County will be highly congested as early as Wednesday afternoon.

AAA predicts a four percent increase in car travel over last year. One big reason is gas prices which are dropping slightly as holiday drivers prepare to hit the road this Thanksgiving.

"We expect about 4.2 million Californians to actually take to the roadways in their automobiles to meet their holiday destinations and to drive 50 miles or more," said Jose Plascencia with AAA.

GasBuddy.com says Fresno gas prices fell nearly five cents per gallon averaging $3.67. The national average has fallen more than five cents per gallon to $3.36.

AAA also expects airports to be busy this time of year. "You would expect that this upcoming holiday weekend AAA of Northern California expects over 620,000 people to travel by air and this despite higher air fares. That's about a 1.9% increase."

Speaking of higher air fares, Orbitz.com reports that the average round-trip air fare to the top 10 cities in the country jumped 11-percent from last year to $373-dollars a ticket -- and that's if you're flying Wednesday thru Sunday.

San Francisco and LAX both made the top five list of busiest airports in the country this Thanksgiving. But San Jose and John Wayne made the top five list of least busiest airports. Fresno-Yosemite International did not make the cut.

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