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Remote, hybrid work schedules leading to record-setting holiday travel season

Travelers head out for early Thanksgiving getaway
Travelers head out for early Thanksgiving getaway 02:12

NEWARK, N.J. -- Planes, trains and automobiles will all be working overtime this holiday travel season as long lines at airports and busy highways add to the stress. 

No matter how you're getting to your destination, AAA says you should leave early and be ready for delays.

"It's good to get an early start," said Margaret Mandanici, from Ansonia, Connecticut.

"Trying to beat the chaos. Trying to get ahead of it, stay ahead of it," said Paul Davis, from Cromwell, Connecticut.

AAA Northeast predicts it will be the third busiest Thanksgiving travel season since it started keeping track in 2000.

That's especially true on the road, with a projected 49.1 million traveling by car this year, up nearly 2% from 2022. Gas prices are lower from 2022, but so is demand.

"We're seeing that demand is down 3% compared to last year, and prices are anywhere from 30 cents cheaper compared to last year. They're 58 cents per gallon cheaper in New Jersey," said Robert Sinclair, with AAA.

More people travel for Thanksgiving than any other holiday in the United States. AAA projects 55.4 million Americans will travel overall this holiday, up 2.3% from 2022.

Drivers at the Vince Lombardi Service Area in New Jersey are making hours-long trips, packing snacks and trying their best to stay sane.

"Everyone's getting along?" CBS New York's Kristie Keleshian asked traveler Eileen Prisby, from San Diego.

"Oh yeah. We're just not talking," Prisby said.

Watch Christina Fan's report

Remote and hybrid work leading to record-setting holiday travel 01:58

Saturday morning was busy at Newark Airport, but it slowed down significantly by midday.

Families are boarding planes nearly a week ahead of time because of hybrid and remote work schedules. 

"Traveling with children, we try to avoid the really busy days," said Olivia Martin-Youngblood, from London.

TSA expects about 30 million passengers will fly between Nov. 17 and Nov. 28. 

The number of flights will tick up this weekend especially, going from roughly 39,000 to 44,000. 

But TSA says the busiest, record-breaking day is expected to be the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when 3.2 million pass through security checkpoints. 

"What AAA is seeing is that people are continuing to travel post-pandemic, and each year the numbers are getting bigger and bigger. We haven't seen any pullback since 2020," said Aixa Diaz, a AAA spokesperson. 

Don't expect much of a reprieve on the roads as most will get to their destinations by car. 

If you're planning to drive, the worst times to hit the road are Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., when holiday traffic combines with the workday commute. 

Experts recommend leaving early instead of on Thanksgiving Day. 

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