NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — On the road, rails and at the airport, millions of people are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
According to AAA, 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home for Thanksgiving.
Nearly 4 million Americans are flying out to family, but the good news is that ticket prices are down 23 percent.
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“On the top 40 domestic routes, the average airfare is $157,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. “Very affordable.”
To get there with time to spare and get through security in New York, you may want to consider leaving four hours before your flight.
“To get to JFK Airport, it’s going to take you on average one hour and 54 minutes to get to your destination,” Sinclair said. “That is the worst in the nation.”
The morning got off to a smooth start at LaGuardia Airport, but Steven from Danbury knows it will be a lot more crowded when he arrives in Minnesota.
“Not a smart move, but it is what it is,” he told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.
But many are looking forward to what awaits when they get to their final destination.
“Smoked turkey and pick my son up from college, have a good time,” another traveler told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
Traffic will be tremendous with 45.5 million people on the roads this holiday weekend.
“We recommend if your destination is close enough, traveling Thanksgiving Day itself. That morning the roads will be empty,” Sinclair said. “No matter where you go, when you go, there’s going to be a lot of traffic.”
That’s despite higher gas prices. AAA credits a strong economy, more disposable income and simply a need for a break.
“Americans get the fewest number of vacation days in the industrialized world, so when you get a built-in four-day holiday, we take advantage of it,” Sinclair said.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell caught up with drivers at the Sloatsburg service area along the New York State Thruway on Wednesday night. Some were traveling with pumpkin pie and cider.
Scott Herbert was driving from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts with this bicycles for a non-traditional Thanksgiving.
“A little bit of mountain biking, a little bit of snowboarding, and eating some food,” he said.
His kind of holiday has its advantages.
“Not having to do the grocery shopping, not having to clean, not having to worry about when you have to get the turkey in and all the sides in and everything like that,” he said.
He said he’ll miss his brother, but otherwise, this works for him.
Drivers also packed the Vince Lombardi rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike early Wednesday morning.
“I’m going to Virginia to see my son,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
“We’re headed for Boston and we started out at 4:15,” another driver said.
“Gonna visit one of my daughters in New Jersey,” another man told 1010 WINS’ John Montone.
Once it was time to punch out at work, it became a race to get out at Penn Station.
“I actually left early, made some time and left early,” John Quinn said.
Travelers seemed pleasantly surprised by the crowd size at the usually jam-packed Penn Station.
“When we first got here it was pretty hairy, but it’s not so bad. Our train to Washington D.C. is delayed an hour,” Chuck Mardiks said.
“I think it’s pretty normal,” Julianna Halka said.
“We have added extra trains on our cars and we’ve also added extra seating to extra trains overall,” Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said.
The Port Authority is forecasting approximately 3.4 million vehicles will use its bridges and tunnels.
On the rails, NJ TRANSIT is offering early getaway bus and rail service on Wednesday. It’s also providing additional capacity to Newark Liberty International Airport. The day before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest day at Newark airport’s rail station.
PATH will run additional service leading up to Wednesday evening’s rush for commuters leaving early.
The Long Island Rail Road will run 12 additional trains from Penn Station Wednesday between 12:43 p.m. and 4:06 p.m.
When returning from your trip, experts say to avoid traveling Sunday between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)