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Thanksgiving travel this week is the biggest holiday rush since 2005, AAA says

It’s going to be a busier than usual Thanksgiving season. AAA projects millions of Americans will journey 50 miles or more this week.

“W e’re expecting 4.2 million Southern Californians to be traveling,” said Brian Ferrell of the AAA branch in Santa Maria. ” We see an increase of about 5.1 percent over last year.”

The vast majority of travelers will hit the road. Others are traveling by air.

“We have Allegiant flight tomorrow to Las Vegas and we expect it to be full,” said Santa Maria Airport General Manager, Chris Haster.

Other top destinations include:

“San Diego is a big one. We also have a lot of people traveling up to San Francisco and then the Grand Canyon,” said Ferrell.

Higher volume of traffic also means more accidents.

“AAA expects to rescue over 100 thousand motorists from the side of the road. Common things would be dead battery, flat tire, lock outs,” Ferrell explained.

Weather is another a big factor. The Central Coast is expecting showers on Wednesday, while other destinations may also see rain or snow.

One of the best ways to prepare is heading out early.

“Think about parking, think about the security lines,” said Hastert.

For those flying out, Hastert advised against packing wrapped gifts.

“Unwrapped is best.”

And when it comes to food…

“You can bring food through the security check point, like pies and cakes. The preserves and the jams and things like that, those you want to in your check bag before you go through security.”

And if you’re looking to avoid the traffic jams, AAA says says your best is on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday.

The company also predicts travel times in the busiest cities to be as much as four times than a normal trip.

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