WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the holiday season in full bloom, travel is at its all-time high with many people traveling across the country. But delays could hamper some holiday travel as a storm is expected to soak the East Coast and Midwest with rain, wind, snow and thunderstorms on Christmas Eve. Travel experts advise that travelers plan ahead for delays with airlines and on the road.
Julia Hall, a AAA spokesperson said to CBSDC that it’s difficult to say exactly what the delays will be because it varies by location.
“I suggest that travelers monitor the weather not only in their city, but the city that they are driving or flying to,” Hall said. “Plans might need to be altered depending on the traveler’s schedule and when the weather begins.”
According to weather.com, rain is expected to fall throughout the day from as north as Maine all the way down to Florida soaking the entire East Coast. Heavy rain could create poor visibility for drivers and enough rain can cause urban and poor drainage flooding in the I-95 mid-Atlantic and southern New England corridor on Wednesday, weather.com reported. For Midwest travelers, snow-related delays will be likely experienced across Michigan and through Illinois.
“With the weather approaching, we highly suggest to leave early or delay departure to avoid the storm,” Hall added. “We’ve seen some significant delays with weather during the holidays in past years.”
This year, over 90 percent of holiday travelers will be driving to their destinations instead of flying or taking buses or trains, Hall said.
“We’re expecting roughly 89.5 million people to drive to their destinations this holiday season beginning from December 23 to January 4,” she shared.
With so many people on the roads in the weather, Hall explained what people should do to be prepared while traveling on the road.
“If you are driving to your destination, make sure your car is in good condition especially for the weather,” Hall said. “Check tires and car batteries before departing. Pack blankets, water, flashlights, batteries, and first aid supplies in the car for travel just in case you get stuck. Most importantly, stay safe on the roads.”
AAA expects to rescue over 1.1 million people on the road during this holiday season.
During Thanksgiving, airports across the country experienced significant delays due to a powerful storm that dumped snow on the East Coast causing flights to be canceled. Hall advised travelers who are flying to their destinations for Christmas to check the status of their flight before leaving home to go to the airport.
“Bring along the phone number of the airline and call them on the way to the airport to check your flight status,” she said. “During Thanksgiving we saw significant delays and that was a big talker. Instead of getting in long lines at the airport, travelers can simply call the airline to alter plans.”
She added that besides calling and waiting in line at the airport, there are other ways to communicate with airlines.
“It’s good to have secondary and third options to stay in communication with airlines to avoid long lines at the airport, so people should also sign up for text message or email alerts.”