Get ready for the 12 days of holiday travel - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Get ready for the 12 days of holiday travel

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The holidays are around the corner, but the people you're visiting may not be.

The 12 days of holiday travel kick off Saturday, which means extra people at the airport and traffic on the roads. 

A record number of travelers are expected to hit the road; AAA is anticipating 90.5 percent of travelers will drive, 22,000 more than last year.

"We have seen more people wanting to take more of a family vacation, especially this year, in the car versus traveling by plane; we're seeing people take more localized travel versus long destination," says Andy Leonard, AAA sales specialist.

The 12 days of travel stretch from December 21 to January 1, which according to AAA, is one day longer than the travel period last year.

Many drivers say they're choosing to drive to take advantage of gas prices, even if they're a bit higher than last year.  The average price of gas is $3.07 in South Carolina, according to AAA, but they expect these prices to decline by the end of the year.

If you're joining the over 5 percent of travelers planning to fly, you may be prepared for long lines at the airport, but Kirk Lovell, Myrtle Beach International Airport Marketing Manager, says it may not be as bad as you think, at least not until next week.

"The airlines preparing for the holidays have added more capacity and flights to the market, and that should start on Monday," Lovell says.

More drivers on the road make the holidays the deadliest time of year.  In all of 2012, more than 40 percent of deaths involved a drunk driver.

Initiatives like South Carolina's "Sober or Slammer" campaign include increased public safety checkpoints during the holidays to cut down on the number of traffic fatalities.

Airline delays, inclement weather and the price of transportation are the top three stressors of holiday travel, and 43 percent of people say the December holidays are the most stressful time of year to take a trip, according to a TripAdvisor survey.

Lovell says you should take steps to avoid extra travel stress, "They should arrive 2 hours before their flight, they should also check with their airline before arriving to the airport to make sure their flight's arriving on time. They do need to allow some extra time to find parking spots," he says.

If and when you're traveling through the airport, be sure to keep your gifts unwrapped.  Airport officials say TSA agents will unwrap any gifts that come through security and if they don't meet guidelines, for example: bottles of fragrance over 3 ounces. You'll have to leave them at the checkpoint.


Visit the TSA website for more airport security restrictions: http://www.tsa.gov/

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