Save time, avoid the rush: A few tips for your holiday travel

A traffic jam forms on the Interstate 66 Potomac Freeway through Foggy Bottom in D.C. during the 2015 National Christmas Tree Lighting. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — It’s going to be a record-breaking holiday travel season, AAA said. Nearly 113 million people are expected to travel by car, plane and train, a 4 percent increase over last year.

With millions of people expected to be on the roads, just a few tweaks to your travel plans could save you time.

If you’re traveling by car, you’ll be one of the 102 million people who will also be taking a holiday road trip. “Some people love to travel through the middle of the night,” said WTOP’s morning traffic anchor, Jack Taylor. It’s a good option for those set on cutting traffic tie-ups, he said.

Taylor added that you should stay off the road at certain times of day. “I would definitely say avoid morning or afternoon rush hour, just because the folks who don’t get to go on vacation still have to go to work. Middays are beautiful,” said Taylor.

Transportation analysts at INRIX say Dec. 20 will be the busiest travel day in the District. “It will turn into a little bit more of a heavy traffic pattern in the evenings. I would even guess Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, all three days,” said Taylor.

If you must drive, it will be a good time to take advantage of falling gas prices. AAA reports a $.02 per a gallon drop in prices in the first week of December, compared with the same time last year.

If you’re avoiding the roadways all together and plan on booking a flight, Dec. 22, 23 and 26 will be the busiest days at the airport. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be the lightest travel days.

But no matter how you travel for the holiday season, remember to be patient.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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