Weighing holiday travel options

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, October 28, 2009

AUGUSTA---Now is the time to make your holiday plans, especially if you want the best deal. So what's the best option this year?

News 12 talked to some travelers and we break down the Thanksgiving travel options by the numbers. According to farecompare.com, plane tickets are down depending on where you're going, and the gas prices aren't expected to be as bad as last year.

The holidays are a time to be close to loved ones. For a lot of people, like Sonia and Hector Schunior, that means traveling.

"I think we're planning to leave that Tuesday before Thanksgiving," says Sonia.

For Sonia and Hector Schunior, heading from Charleston to Mississippi means traveling with little ones.

"It's a long drive, especially with two kids," says Hector. "Roughly 10 -11 hours."

"I think driving takes longer, but it's a lot cheaper," adds Sonia.

Cheap travel is also a priority of Keyser Larisa, who's traveling with a dog. She expects her travel time to be more because she has a pet.

"He is a very well behaved,dog,"says Larisa. "We have to stop probably a couple of times an hour though."

This year's holiday travel numbers have not come out yet, but it's expected that more people will be traveling by car. The concern here is gas prices.
Lynda Hines with AAA of Augusta says this year may not be as bad as last.

"They might trickle up a little bit further as we get closer to the holidays, but we are really not expecting it to get too high to impede with people traveling this holiday season," says Hines.

Jim Piecuch and his wife are traveling to Williamsburg,Virginia to visit his son for Thanksgiving. He opted to drive because he says it's more convenient all around - price, time and less hassles.

Let's say you're traveling from Augusta to Williamsburg, like Piecuch, the day before Thanksgiving.

Prices as of: 8pm, October28, 2009
Traveling: November 25, 2009 - November 29, 2009

Driving would take 8 hours, you'd hit rush hour traffic along the way and you'd spend at least $125 dollars in gas and food. The advantage here: at an average $2.57 a gallon this week, gasoline is almost 12 percent cheaper than it was a year ago.

If you don't mind sitting on a train for 10 hours, Amtrak is the way to go. But you'd have to drive to Charlotte to get on. That will cost you $116.00 dollars round-trip.

If you are thinking about going Greyhound, there are discounts from military to student fares, but that 14 hour bus ride may be more than you can bear. Round trip price: $138.00.

Travelocity.com lists an airline ticket from Augusta, Georgia to Newport News, Virginia, the closest airport to Williamsburg, at $598.00. You'd get there the quickest, but with the airport hassles, Piecuch says he'd just rather drive.

"I have family in New Hampshire and I used to take the train from Williamsburg to Boston, which invariably, when it was on schedule, took as long as it took me to drive," says Piecuch. "I'd still be in Boston and still have another hour to go and the bus was even slower."

AAA says the best advice is to leave early and come back early. Another thing to do gas is up days before your trip because you could see a spike the day before the holidays.

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