Labor Day weekend travel expected to increase

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Laura Thomas - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Labor Day travel weekend kicked off Thursday and AAA of the Carolinas says about 8 percent more drivers will hit the roads this year.

AAA of the Carolinas says one of the reasons is cheaper gas prices. Average gas prices in the Palmetto State are down 13 cents from their highest point this summer.

David Wilson traveled with his family from Virginia and says the cheaper prices have definitely helped.

"It's good to see cheap gas, we'll fill up before we leave. It's a little more expensive at home, probably 20, 30 cents more a gallon," said Smith.

As far as air travel is concerned, AAA is also predicting an increase of about 2 percent. They say about 18,000 South Carolinians will take to the skies this weekend.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is getting the word out to visitors that Hurricane Earl should not affect their travel plans.

Amie Lee, who organizes festivals and specials events for the MBACC, says preparations are in full swing for the Beach, Boogie, BBQ Festival at the Market Common.

"Right now we're saying goodbye Earl, and hello Beach, Boogie and BBQ," explained Lee.

Lee says last year, the event brought out 10,000 to 15,000 people last year.

All the drivers on the roads will of course mean lots of traffic tie-ups, but for Illene Powell of Socastee, she's used to it.

"I'm from Long Island and New York, so traffic there is a nightmare, but here, it seems like a picnic in comparison," said Powell.

Even with her traffic tolerance, Powell is doing her best to avoid the congestion this weekend, stocking up on groceries so she won't even have to leave the house. However, she is still willing to share the Strand with these summer visitors.

"We live here and we like to see people enjoy it like we do," said Powell. "It's a wonderful place to live and it's a great place to visit!"

AAA of the Carolinas says Myrtle Beach ranks as one of the most popular destinations for visitors this Labor Day.

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