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Holiday travel starting earlier for a long Thanksgiving week

A change in school schedules with the entire Thanksgiving week off in some cases, has travelers already on the move.

In the past some of the vacations were only two or three days.

The Santa Barbara waterfront had many people from out of the area talking about the sunny weather and how they got the jump on the holiday getaway they usually see in the form of a traffic jam around next Wednesday.

That’s a day the Santa Barbara train station is known for big crowds. Amtrak adds extra cars to the Surfliner and hundreds of passengers are usually on the 2 p.m. southbound train.

For a Central Valley traveler, Richard Higgins, he says “leave early and don’t wait until three o’clock in the afternoon – forget it. It will be midnight by the time you get to where you want to get to.” He also says coming down the Grapevine on Interstate 5 can be a mess on a crowded weekend or holiday and worse with an accident.

A Midwesterner said at home it’s chilly and basking in the sunshine of Santa Barbara was exactly the way she wanted to start her vacation.”It’s raining, its cold and the temperatures are starting to drop (back home.) This week it is supposed to be in the 40’s. I am sorry I am not there ….NOT ! Here it is fantastic and this is so beautiful for me. I am retired. I could move here,” said Ann Verderber.

The Santa Barbara airport recently said its passenger count was up seven percent from a year ago.

A local resident Williams Simmers said he will stay home and help friends around town. His plans include serving dinner at Our Lady of Sorrows church to seniors and parishioners.

Late in the afternoon a long line of vehicle lights could be seen on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara from both the Friday commuters and those on the move for a vacation.

As for gas prices, they have held steady with no significant spike at this time.

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