Updated 11/13/2012 04:48 PM
Proper prep cuts down on holiday travel stress
They're making their way to an airport, bus station and highway near you: 43.6 million travelers, all trying to get home for Thanksgiving. AAA predicts this will be the fourth year in a row travel numbers for the holiday are going to go up. Our Sarah Blazonis has some tips for navigating the busy season.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Forget Thanksgiving. William Backes and his family are planning for the holidays, but they're looking ahead.
"I'm from Medford, Oregon," said Backes. "We're buying tickets for Christmas time to go back and see our families."
But AAA says 39 million people will hit the road and another 3.4 million will hop a plane in the next week and there's something they can learn from travelers like Backes.
"Just plan ahead," said Lindsey Dwyer, a travel leisure manager with BTI Travel in Syracuse.
Travel agents say nailing down plans in advance plays a big role in making sure any trip goes smoothly.
"If you know you're going home for Christmas or the holidays, then you're going to want to do that well before the summer starts. Otherwise, you're relying on what space is left and the mercy of the airlines on the prices," said Dwyer.
The same goes for booking bus or train rides and just because you've got your ticket doesn't mean the planning is over. If you're flying, make sure to come prepared. Printing out your boarding pass beforehand can help save time at check-in. And plan how you want to transport any holiday gifts.
"If they are wrapped, put them in your suitcase. If you are carrying them, keep them unwrapped. That will save you time going through security," said Jennine Lombardi, AAA's travel director for the Eastern Region.
And if you're feeling brave, traveling on the actual holiday itself may have its perks.
"Traveling on the holiday can save you some money, but you have to be able to be flexible if you are, in fact, delayed," said Lombardi.
However they get there, travelers are looking forward to reaching their destinations.
"It's stress-relieving, especially being so far away all the time," said Backes.
And spending time with loved ones.