PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Friday could be a major headache for travelers in Hampton Roads, as people take to the roads and skies this Christmas season.
AAA says it expects more than 107 million Americans to travel in one form or another over the holiday. Around 3 million Virginians will a part of that crowd — with 2.7 million expected to travel by car.
Another 165,000 are expected to fly to their destinations. At Norfolk International Airport, a rush of travelers filed through the terminals before the sun was up on Friday.
Those who were at the airport during the afternoon were surprised to see sparse crowds.
“I did but it’s not that bad, not that bad at all. Maybe tomorrow, tomorrow and Monday will be a little more busy with the last minute travelers,” said Antawn Bynum, who was on his way to Atlanta.
10 On Your Side spoke with drivers, who don’t think they’ll see too many others on the road.
“I don’t expect a lot of traffic. If there is, so what? It’s the holidays,” said Mike O’Hearn, who will be headed up to the Shenandoah Valley after Christmas.
According to estimates, Virginia will see increases around 3 percent across the board for Christmas holiday travel.
Right now, the average gas price in Virginia is around $2.24. That’s 17 cents more than last year — but the good news is AAA expects the average to drop at least five cents
AAA is advising travelers to map a route in advance and to expect busy roads. The best times to leave are early in the morning or after the morning commute.
If you want to avoid any congestion, the best day to travel is actually Christmas Day.
O’Hearn says despite any traffic or backups during the holidays, it’s best to have an optimistic attitude.
“It’s a happy time of the year. Don’t let traffic bother you.In other words, block it out. Have a good time. It’s a great time of the year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” he said.