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Roads, airports will be busy as a record number of people travel for the holidays


If you're traveling for the holidays, here's one thing you should know: it'll be busy.

AAA projects nearly one in three Americans will travel over the year-end holiday season (Dec. 23 through Jan. 3) – it's expected to be the first year the number of travelers tops the 100 million mark.

Here’s what you need to know, no matter how you’re getting around this week.

Most people are driving

Ninety percent of people will be driving to their holiday celebrations this year, AAA says. And there's good news for the estimated 91.3 million people who are hitting the roads – they'll save money at the pump.

The national average for a gallon of gas is below $2 for the first time since March 25, 2009, AAA announced. The average price for a gallon of regular gas was $1.868 in Minnesota Monday, AAA's fuel gauge report shows. The lowest price fin the state was found in Champlin, where customers paying cash paid $1.66 for a gallon, says.

The airport will be busy, too

Expect long security lines at the airport this week.

Airlines for America projects 38.1 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3, which is up 3 percent on last year. (AAA puts the number of people flying from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3 at 5.8 million.)

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was already packed Monday morning – and it's expected to get busier as Christmas gets closer, KARE 11 notes.

"Usually I come in and zip through here like in 10 minutes, so I was a little bit shocked," Dunya Habash told KSTP of the long security line at MSP.

Wednesday is forecast to be one of the busiest travel days of the season, so keep that in mind when you're planning on when to get to the airport, USA Today says.

More travelers – including families who may not be as speedy at the screening process – coupled with tighter security could mean you'll be spending more time waiting in the security line. MSP Airport recommends getting to the airport at least 90 minutes before your boarding time.

There's good news for air travelers as well. Airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are 6 percent lower this holiday season, meaning people paid an average of $174 round trip, AAA notes.

Plan ahead: Sloppy weather could slow travel

Those traveling this week may have to deal with some sloppy weather across the country.

If you're driving in Minnesota you'll likely encounter some wet – possibly slushy – roads this week. Several rounds of rain and snow will move into the region mid-week, but mostly rain is expected for much of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities says. High temperatures later this week will be in the 20s and 30s, the weather service adds.

Those taking to the sky won't have to deal with any widespread wintry weather, USA Today notes, but it might not be completely smooth sailing.

Historically warm weather is in the forecast for the majority of airports in the United States, which is limiting the chance for snowy travel. However, there may be fog, rain and thunderstorms that could delay flights, so it's important to keep an eye on the forecast, the paper says.

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