More travelers choosing the highway over the runway this holiday season

More travelers choosing the highway over the runway this holiday season

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - It may not be a surprise to many that December holidays are voted the most stressful, and the big culprit to the headaches, the traveling.

Over 1.3 million South Carolinians plan to travel this Christmas, that's up 22,000 since last year, according to AAA. More than half of those are going to be driving.

More travelers are choosing the highway over the runway this holiday season because of cost. This Christmas season, the national average price for a round trip flight is up to $436 dollars, last year the average during this time was $401.

While the cost of airfare during the holidays continues to increase, gas prices are dropping in some areas.

The national average gas price per gallon is down to $3.27, last year the average was $3.39.

According to AAA, the average price of gas per gallon in South Carolina is lower than that, at $3.07. However, the Charleston average is one of the highest in the state at $3.17 per gallon.

There are some things you can do before you take off on your trip that will give you better gas mileage and also prepare you in case of an emergency.

"Double check your fluids, your tire pressures even your spare tire. Make sure you know where your jack is. And then we also recommend that you prepare an emergency roadside kit," said Lori Jo Simmons, general manager at AAA.

Simmons says that in every roadside kit should be blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, battery booster cables and also very important to keep some drinking water handy.

Simmons says biggest mistake she sees with drivers over the holidays is lack of preparation.

According to TripAdvisor, 48 percent of travelers surveyed say they will hit the road during off peak hours to avoid traffic. 80 percent say they're going to load their smartphone or tablet to check for weather, over half will use the devices for navigation.

Highway patrol says that while using these devices can be useful, they can also be dangerous and distracting to drivers.

"Unfortunately last year during the Christmas holiday, statewide we had 11 fatalities," said Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Jones.

Plus, a little patience on the roads can go a long way in keeping everyone safe on the road.

"Slow down, exercise patience, avoid distractions and never drink and drive," said Jones.

Highway Patrol says there will be extra checkpoints throughout the state during this holiday period, on the look out for drunk drivers. So, if you have a party to go to, make sure you plan ahead with a designated driver.

And if you're taking to the skies instead of the roads, there are tips for you too.

Airline delays and cancellations have been voted the biggest stressors for holiday travel. To cut down on the stress, most airlines have free smartphone apps that can help you track your flight before you even get to the airport.

If you plan ahead, you could save yourself and your fellow travelers a lot of time.

First, add some extra time for parking. The airport lots are very full right now. Also, try to print your boarding pass out ahead of time.

Then, there's the security line.

The Transportation Security Administration is also offering some tips to keep everyone moving through security fast. Remember, your liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less. All your small bottles have to fit into one quart size plastic bag. when you get to security put that bag straight in the bin.

Wrapped gifts are allowed but TSA officers may need to unwrap them and that will definitely slow you down. So, they suggest packing your wrapping paper and do it after security.

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