Busy and expensive holiday travel season could be impacted by weather

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There is no better way to spend Christmas with friends and family. This year, AAA is forecasting a busy holiday travel season, in fact it’s the third-busiest end-of-the-year travel season on record.

Whether it is a plane, train, or automobile, Americans are eager to get home for Christmas, including here in the Southwest.

“The mountain region which includes New Mexico 8.4 million people will be traveling,” AAA New Mexico and Texas spokesperson, Daniel Armbruster said. “That’s 7.5 million driving, 650,000 that will take a flight for leisure.”

A 4% jump since last year.

“Third-busiest end of year travel period on record. It’s going to be very busy whether you are on the airport, on the roads, or at the cruise port, you’re going to run into delays crowds, be patient, be prepared,” said Armbruster. 

Another jump is how much it will cost to travel.

“Inflation just like anywhere its hitting gas prices, hotel rooms in some areas are more expensive, airline tickets are definitely more expensive than when they were a year ago,” Armbruster said.

Although gas prices are down in New Mexico to below $3 on average, that could change. 

“We do have to say that there is that possibility for fluctuation just because there is that increase in demand for fuel as more people will be traveling,” Armbruster said.

But inflation is not squashing the strong demand for travel.  

Armbruster says the only thing that could throw a wrench in traveler’s plans is the weather. 

“Weather is going to play a factor likely in the coming days when it comes to flight schedules. So if you’re looking at your flight, check the weather forecast now and if you think there is a possibility you could be impacted go ahead and contact your travel advisor or the airline and try to find a better flight that works for,” said Armbruster. 

If you are looking to skip the airport and drive, AAA says before you hit the road make sure your car is prepared for cold weather, that could impact your battery, and it’s always a good idea to bring an emergency roadside kit with blankets and coats.