Deciphering the Holiday Travel Season: Part One

by Audry Kensicki on November 23, 2009 at 5:10 am

When it comes to holiday travel, how late is too late to plan?

Whiz reporter Audry Kensicki takes a look at the 2009 holiday season travel outlook in the first part of her series, "Deciphering the Holiday Travel Season."

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy. A time to see family and friends.

So why is it when it comes to holiday travel, it’s anything but joyful?

"It’s busy," said Zanesville resident Marlene Gentile. "Especially from north to south, but it’s busy up there leaving Michigan and coming down.

Others agree traveling can be quite hectic.

"It makes me think I hope my girls don’t grow up and move away," said Christy Ware of Zanesville. "That they stay in town so we don’t have to go through that.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, you will be one of 38 million Americans hitting the highways and the skies.

"The planes are actually going to feel more packed then they have in the past and that’s because capacity is down," said Jennifer Gaines of Travelocity.

Airlines have had to compensate for a general drop in customers, forcing them to cut flights.

Local airports like Port Columbus International are following suit, cutting 1,100 flights from 2007 to 2008.

"We feel sorry for those people," Ware said. "But to get home, people will do what they need to do.

Joanna Herncane of AAA says travel will be just as busy on the roads.

"Gas prices have come down significantly over the past year," said Herncane. "A lot of people are looking for driving vacations right now. We’re expecting this holiday to see an increase from last year."

Herncane says people are taking advantage of cheap flights and cheap gas.

"Some of our top auto destinations continue to be Myrtle Beach area, Orlando, Nashville, Asheville, Chicago and New York," she said. "Those can be quick trips for people to get away just for a couple of days."

And for you procrastinators, you still might be able to find a good deal.

"The good news for holiday travelers is that it’s never too late to book your holiday trips," said Herncane. "Whether you’re planning months or a year in advance or you just have a few weeks, don’t give up hope."

If you still haven’t planned that holiday trip, tune in tomorrow for more on deals still available.