Nearly 51 million Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Nearly 51 million Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
BELTON, TX (KXXV) -

With two days left until Thanksgiving, many are anxiously preparing to open their homes to family from all over while others get ready to leave town.

According to AAA, nearly 51 million Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving, the most in more than a decade.

Leila Valchar is the owner of My Giving Tree Gift Shop and Gallery in Belton. She's closing her doors for Thanksgiving, but that's not so she can hit the road sooner.

"I'll be celebrating with my family and I hope a lot of other people are doing the same," said Valchar. "We're going to have a big family gathering with all of us and it'll be here, local and I'm looking forward to it."

In the past, she's traveled to California for Thanksgiving, but previous holiday headaches have caused her to stay home in Central Texas these last few years.

"That's one of the reasons we like to stay local now, is because there's a lot of traffic out there," said Valchar.

"Thanksgiving is the most heavily trafficked holiday of the year so you can anticipate a significant amount of traffic, which will lead to some congestion on I-35, on most of our roadways, particularly on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward," said Ken Roberts with TXDOT.

AAA expects nearly 90 percent of people to travel by car, which means driving through some cities could take three times longer than usual.

"We have work zones that are going to be on Interstate 35, particularly through our Waco area," said Roberts.

 Roberts said taking it slow and giving yourself more time will save you stress and possibly your life.

"There's going to be lots of traffic out, the more traffic, the greater potential for accidents," said Roberts.

If you have to leave town, Roberts suggests leaving in the morning. He said you'll also have more luck avoiding traffic if you come back on Friday or Saturday.  

So remember to buckle up and be careful, or be thankful that you're staying home for the holidays.

"If we don't have to drive, we're not going to," said Valchar."For us, that's what we've decided to do."

You can also check the TxDOT website before your road trip to find construction zones and other areas you may want to avoid. 

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved. 

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