TAMPA, Fla. - Nearly 50 million Americans are hitting the air and roads. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is busting records. It's expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel day in 12 years.
According to AAA, the majority of people aren’t actually traveling by air. Instead, 89% of travelers are picking the highway. If you've been seeing more cars out there it's not a coincidence. The auto club noticed a 3% increase in car travel compared to last Thanksgiving.
"I like to go by car because you can stop whatever you want to see. It's not like you are in the air and can't see anything," said Helen Foy.
This car traveler was headed back to Levy County. But Foy and others choosing the roads will be paying a little more for gas because of price surge. Right now, the national average for a gallon of regular is $2.50. That's up from $2.13 a year ago. Bad news for those renting a car. The average cost is $70.That's a whopping 34% hike compared to last year. It's also the highest rate since 2013.
Travelers going by plane will also be paying a lot less. The average roundtrip ticket for a domestic flight is nearly $160. That's the lowest in five years.
For Puerto Rican student Stephanie Morales, traveling to Tampa to visit family is about more than just the nickels and dimes. Back home in San Juan, she still has no power since Hurricane Maria hit.
"I'm just thankful to be alive. I'm thankful that my family was alive and thankful for this really necessary break," she said.
Morales joins the more than 2.5 million people that will be screened at airports today. The TSA says today in their top five busiest ever.
"It's quick and with the kids it's easy," said Chrisann Kwiatkowski who is traveling back to Cleveland, Ohio with her family. "It's been really easy. No hassles no long lines. Everything has been great."
Travel experts say Americans are braving the potentially long lines and traffic thanks to a growing economy and low unemployment rates.
"We're going to beat the traffic, we've only got another 60 miles or so we'll beat it," said Foy.