Holiday travel — 2.2M from DC area to be on roads

There are going to be a lot of empty driveways and parking lots in the D.C. metro area over the end-of-year holiday period.

AAA Mid-Atlantic projects the vast majority of people intending to travel more than 50 miles from the region between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 will drive.

“As is typical for most of these holidays, the vast majority — in fact, 90%, or slightly over 2.2 million travelers in the DMV area — will be driving to their holiday destinations this year,” said Ragina Ali, public and government affairs manager with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

About 141,000 people will fly, which is up about 16% from last year.

The resurgence in travel this year is even stronger among people taking what’s listed as “other” modes of transportation — up 25%.

“That translates to about 95,000 people who will be taking trains, buses, cruise ships. And that is actually where we’re seeing the largest increase similarly to what we saw with Thanksgiving,” she said.

Ali said people hitting the road will enjoy cheaper gas than the country has seen since October 2021 — the national average Thursday was $3.19 a gallon, down from $3.31 a year ago. In the D.C. area, the average was $3.24 per gallon, 10 cents less than last year.

Ali said drivers should check the weather forecast and travel conditions before leaving home — along the route as well as at their destinations.

Everyone this time of year should have an emergency kit stocked in their vehicles to be prepared for any eventuality. Last winter, the debacle on I-95 in Northern Virginia stranded some motorists for 27 hours. People who experienced it haven’t forgotten.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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