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AAA said Tuesday that more than 109 million Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.
The group predicts crowded roads and skies – a nearly 34% increase from last year of people traveling 50 miles or more – between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, with air travel nearly tripling over 2020.
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The AAA expects more than 100 million people to travel by automobile, 6.4 million by air and 2.9 million via bus, train or cruise.
This rebound will bring 2021 numbers to 92% of 2019 levels and airlines will see a 184% increase from last year.
"Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant," Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. "With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel."
Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, another AAA report found that more than 53.4 million people were expected to travel, marking the highest single-year increase since 2005.
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Of those tens of millions, the auto club predicted that 48.3 million would travel at least 50 miles from home by automobile – an increase of nearly 4 million over last year despite higher gasoline prices.
Just a day later, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified omicron as a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern" – a variant that has since spread to 39 states and led state leaders to reimpose restrictions.
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The AAA instructed anyone considering gathering or traveling for the holidays to consult Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, and AAA's COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map.
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"It’s essential to know requirements and recommendations based on your vaccination status, where you’re traveling from and your destination," it wrote.
Masks are still required on planes buses, trains and other forms of U.S. public transportation and within transportation hubs.
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