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Traveling for Thanksgiving? Here’s what you need to know on one of the busiest travel days

Holidays

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you’re planning on traveling to your Thanksgiving destination on Wednesday, you’re not alone.

According to AAA Northeast, about 2.5 million Southern new Englanders are heading out for extended vacations this week. The number is part of the predicted 53 million people nationwide expected to travel for the holiday.

Wednesday is considered one of, if not the busiest travel day of the week as people pack the airports and roadways.

AAA Northeast Spokesperson Diana Gugliotta says they are seeing more people flying to their holiday destinations compared to years past, but according to a local survey, about 80% of Southern New Englanders will be driving — with most going 50 miles or more from their homes.

According to AAA, travelers can expect roadways in the Boston area to be 240% more congested on Wednesday between the combination of holiday travelers and commuters heading to and from work.

“So from 1 p.m. to about 7 p.m. is where we’ll see the highest volume in road congestion,” Gugliotta said. “If you can avoid traveling during that time particularly Wednesday afternoon into early evening, try to find an alternate time if possible, head out earlier in the morning or later in the evening.”

Train stations are expected to be busy as well. Amtrack is assuring passengers it has air filtration and other measures to keep riders safe during the pandemic.

For those catching planes to their destinations, nearly two dozen flights are taking off from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport Wednesday morning.

Officials at T.F. Green says they expect to screen about 5,000 people a day, which is more than double compared to last year.

Across the country, TSA agents say they have screened more than 2 million people a day since last Thursday.

“You know, people do go on car trips, head out of state for a couple of days, but this year, in particular, I think because of the pandemic and people were cooped up for so long, we are definitely seeing, especially with our travel department, we are seeing folks take longer vacations, people are just so excited to socialize again and get together with family,” Gugliotta said.

Free COVID-19 tests will be available near the baggage area at T.F. Green, and according to R.I. Airport Cooperation’s John Goodman, T.F. Green will also be offering free kits with face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes.

Federal rules also require that you wear a mask in the airport and on planes and trains.

The roadways will continue to be busy post-Thanksgiving, with some people traveling home and many others going out shopping on Black Friday.

The day after has been designated Small Business Saturday, where holiday shoppers are encouraged to go out and support local businesses.

The city of Providence is offering free parking in some areas from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, while an event featuring dozens of local vendors will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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