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Millions to hit the roads, skies as holiday travel takes off again

AAA said travel is expected to be up 13 percent from last Thanksgiving holiday, making for a congested commute this weekend.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Prepare to pump the breaks if you're traveling this Thanksgiving weekend, as AAA projects millions are set to get away this holiday weekend. 

The travel organization aid airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as with 53.4 million people expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020.

AAA said the best time to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday is Wednesday after 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday before 11 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday before noon.

Juan Fernandez is in town visiting his daughter. He left a few days early to avoid the craze of cars on the road. 

"We came a few days early. Two reasons, just to get ready for the family, my wife cooking and everything but also the gas prices are going up so to avoid some of the traffic and all that, and fortunately were driving instead of flying," he said.

His family is scattered throughout North Carolina, and he said they decided to have a Greensboro holiday this year. 

"We're having a big family get-together for Thanksgiving. All my daughters and five and a half grandkids. She's got another one on the way so we're looking forward to that. A lot to be thankful for this year and a lot of blessings. So we're excited for the whole family to get together," he said. 

Chuck Splawn is opting for a local gathering this year.

"Just a small Thanksgiving cooking with my mom," he said. 

But even with the small get-together, he said he has big things to be grateful for.

"Family and my health," he said. 

Paul Burske is also staying in town this year.

"I'm working this holiday, unfortunately, my family is going out of town I wish I could join them but that’s not the case," he said, "I'm glad to be here with my girlfriend's family and enjoy Thanksgiving with them."

Burske said he doesn't mind missing the traffic on the roads.

"Every thanksgiving is pretty hectic and everyone wants to travel," he said, "I'm not a fan of stop-and-go traffic I don’t think anyone is I'm OK with staying put!"

Piedmont Triad International Airport was quiet midday Wednesday in the departure drop-off, but airport officials said numbers are still strong, creeping closer to pre-pandemic levels. 

If you're flying, don't take delays or cancellations off the table. The U.S. Department of Transportation said there are no laws requiring airlines to compensate passengers for delayed or canceled flights. Compensation is only required when passengers are bumped from a flight that was oversold. 

However, some airlines do have policies in place that accommodate situations where flights are delayed or canceled. Know your airline's policy ahead of time.