Nearly 3 million Virginians will travel, spend more money and go - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Nearly 3 million Virginians will travel, spend more money and go further

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates that 2.7 million Virginians will travel this holiday season. That number is about the same as last year except that this year, Virginians will travel farther and spend more money.

The travel advisor estimates the average Virginian will travel nearly 1,000 miles, which is 200 miles more than last year. The average Virginian will also spend about $840 on travel, which is up $40 from last year.

91% of travelers will do so by car. That means 2.4 million Virginians will share the roads this holiday season. 150,000 Virginians will fly and 107,000 will take buses and trains. 

"Regardless of a sluggish economy Virginians are willing to spend the money," said AAA spokeswoman, Tammy Gobert. "Especially when it comes to spending time with friends and family."

Gas prices aren't keeping folks at home either, even though a gallon of regular unleaded is four cents higher than this time last year.

"A family of four getting in a vehicle driving somewhere together is going to be a lot less expensive than other modes of transportation," said Gobert.

NBC12 met the Blankenship family at Richmond International Airport. David Blankenship says, he offset the cost of four plane tickets by saving in other areas.

"We made the decision to travel and do a cruise this year instead of spending a lot of money on gifts," he said.

The Richmond airport's travel season began Wednesday with 2,000 military members flying to their homes on break from training at Fort Lee.

An airport spokesman says, the crowds will continue to pick up over the weekend and into next week.

Weather could also be a problem. Thunderstorms are expected in parts of the Midwest over the weekend, which could cause delays.

In parts of Virginia Sunday night into Monday morning, you can expect rain.

No matter how you're getting to your destination, AAA has some tips for holiday travel:

"The first thing you want to do is pack your patience," said Gobert. "If flying, get to the airport two to three hours ahead of time depending on if your flight is national or international. 

"If you're driving, make sure your vehicle is road ready. A disabled vehicle can cause a lot of back ups on the highway."

State police and Chesterfield police also notified NBC12 that they will be stepping up patrols across Virginia highways and roads this holiday season.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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